Financial Accelerator, Learning
With the ringing of a bell reminiscent of the opening of trading on Wall Street and the lighting of a Jumbotron at the corner of Kinsley and Market Streets in Hartford, the University officially opened its SS&C Technologies Financial Accelerator and School of Business Graduate Learning Center in Hartford on Oct. 29.
The Financial Accelerator and Learning Center, which occupy 40,000 square feet on four floors of a building at 100 Constitution Plaza, will be a place where students will work alongside business executives and faculty to solve real problems. The students will have access to a trading floor designed like Wall Street’s, real-time data from the stock markets, and high-tech classrooms and computer equipment.
“This is a dream come true,” said Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez. “For a top business school on a fast track to national prominence to be located right here in downtown alongside outstanding companies is a real pleasure.”
The Financial Accelerator is but one example of the University working with the city of Hartford, said President Philip E. Austin. “UConn’s relationship with our state capital is longstanding, appropriate and – I hope – still in the formative phase. This project is a great step forward and we are looking forward to other ways in which we and the city can work together.”
Austin said the accelerator is an excellent example of how a public research university collaborates with major enterprises to form a partnership to improve the state’s economy. “It’s good for our students: It enhances their education and it strengthens their ability to compete in the market. It’s good for our private sector partners: The outcome is a greatly increased pool of highly qualitifed talent and a group of potential employees who are technically proficient as well as intellectually creative. And it is equally good for the community that surrounds us in our capital city. You’re known by the company you keep, and UConn is honored to be associated with SS& C Technologies and our other corporate friends – and with the city of Hartford.”
The opening festivities also included the reading of a document from Gov. M. Jodi Rell proclaiming Oct. 29, 2004 – the 75th anniversary of the stock market crash of 1929, known as Black Tuesday – as SS&C Technologies Financial Accelerator Day in the state of Connecticut. Rell also commended William C. Stone, chief executive officer of SS&C Technologies of Windsor, an investment and financial management software company, for his “kind generosity, compassion, and outstanding contributions to the state of Connecticut.”
SS&C provided the lead gift for the accelerator, which also received contributions from Nortel Networks, bkm Total Office, Capital Properties, Dell Inc., Thomson Financial, General Electric, Konover & Associates Inc., Steelcase/BKM, NASDAQ Educational Foundation, Steelcase Inc., Trans-Lux Corp., and others.
“Seeding the accelerator with SS&C’s technology will both jump start the accelerator and position it as a leading center of higher learning,” Stone said. “SS&C employs numerous high quality University of Connecticut graduates who benefit our firm. We believe this is one more exciting thing happening in downtown Hartford to keep bright, young, productive people in our great state.”
The day’s festivities included a keynote address by Roger Ferguson, vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Ferguson discussed the equilibrium real interest rate – the interest rate that neither fuels or curtails the economy.
Ferguson, who has been on the Federal Reserve Board since 1997, is a representative of the Federal Reserve in international policy groups and is chairman of the Committee on the Global Financial System, a central bank panel that monitors and examines broad issues related to financial markets and systems. He is also chairman of the Financial Stability Forum, which promotes international financial stability through information exchange and international cooperation in financial supervision and surveillance.
He agreed to speak, he said, because of his respect for and friendship with William Curt Hunter, dean of the School of Business, who worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago before becoming dean.
“We are proud to be part of the revitalization of Hartford,” Hunter said. “Faculty and students are our engine of progress.”
Hunter noted that the Financial Accelerator will serve as a real-world lab for ground-breaking research from the faculty.
“Business partners will take away innovative solutions to current market challenges that have been put to the test using real market data, and they will have access to a pipeline of top talent that will evolve into their next generation of leadership,” Hunter said. “This project will support the economy of both Hartford, a strong national financial center, and our state.”
The facility includes the 10,000-square-foot accelerator, with scrolling financial news and stock market indices; high technology classrooms for the master of business administration and executive master of business administration programs, which were relocated from West Hartford and Farmington this fall; computer labs; meeting space; and an area where workers from partner companies can be stationed.
The move is designed to help boost Hartford’s renewal by having nearly 500 students, many of them mid-level executives, obtain advanced business degrees in the city during evenings and weekends throughout the year. Other workforce development programs will also be offered in downtown Hartford in the future.