LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2014) — When the leadership of the University of Kentucky and its Gatton College of Business and Economics laid out a vision for expansion and enhancement of the college’s facilities, to be financed totally through private philanthropy, UK alumnus William E. “Bill” Seale ‘stepped up to the plate’ in a big way, donating $5 million to the $65 million project. Recently, he pledged an additional $5 million to the Gatton United Campaign to bring his total commitment to $10 million.
With this funding, the college plans to honor Seale’s generosity by naming the new finance learning center in his honor. The state-of-the-art installation will be called the William E. Seale Finance Learning Center. The center will allow students, both undergraduate and graduate, to flourish in a technologically advanced classroom that simulates a real trading environment with digital displays feeding real-time financial and market information.
Brad Jordan, chair of Gatton’s Department of Finance and Quantitative Methods and the Richard W. and Janis H. Furst Endowed Chair in Finance, said, “Once this is built, it will be the best of its kind. It will contain exactly the same types of databases, the same types of terminals, the same types of access that a trader would have at a Wall Street firm. It’s also a classroom designed in a way that facilitates group work and interaction between faculty and students.”
Students will sit in small clusters throughout the room allowing for more collaboration and giving them an introduction to the environment and atmosphere many of them will be working in following graduation. The most prominent finance program at the center will be the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF).
“Groups of students will be managing more than $5 million of UK’s endowment, making all buy-and-sell decisions,” Jordan said. “Every major university in the country is developing this kind of program and UK will now be at the forefront. This will be one of the larger student managed investment funds in the nation, and our students will have the very best facilities.”
Seale graduated from UK with a degree in chemistry in 1963 and then worked in the College of Medicine for several years. While holding down that job, he also found time to study for a master’s degree in agricultural economics, which he received from the university in 1969. Seale earned his Ph.D. in 1975.
Seale previously demonstrated his commitment to UK and its future students when his monetary gift established the D. Milton Shuffett Agricultural Economics Endowment Fund, in honor of a former, longtime College of Agriculture, Food and Environment faculty member who was a mentor to him.
“It’s an undergraduate scholarship designed for Kentucky kids, and it’s a need-based scholarship,” said Seale.
Another UK teacher who made a huge impact on Seale was the late William J. Stober, a faculty member in the Gatton College’s Department of Economics.
“Professor Stober and Professor Shuffett both had an unbelievable ability to impart knowledge,” said Seale.
Now retired, Seale has deep family ties to UK. His father, Frank Seale, earned three letters as a member of the Wildcat football team in the early 1930s. Bill’s son, Jim, also is a UK graduate.
Seale has a long list of career achievements. To mention just a few:
• Chief economist and principal at the $28 billion mutual fund investment firm ProFunds
• Chair of the Finance Department and senior associate dean of the business school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
• Former commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (an appointment by President Ronald Reagan)
These days, Seale spends most of his time in either Annapolis, Maryland or Key Largo, Florida.
The University of Kentucky will remain one of his major priorities going forward.
“It’s a great institutution and is one of those things we have to continue to support,” said Seale. “I wouldn’t be where I am without UK and that’s why I give back.”
To find out more about the Gatton United Campaign, visit http://gattonunited.com.
There you can find news stories, profiles of donors, sketches and videos of the new building, and a live webcam of the progress of building construction.