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Robert McCann talks about the new investment fund.

Bethany College takes classroom Learning to Wall Street with $1 Million McCann Investment Fund

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Robert McCann talks about the new investment fund.

Monday Nov 2nd 2009, Bethany, W.Va. — Bethany College today announced details of the McCann Family Student Investment Fund, where Bethany students will now serve as investment professionals responsible for a $1 million endowment and apply the financial savvy they have developed in the classroom to the real-world theater of investment management. The fund, established by Robert and Cindy McCann of Madison, N.J., positions Bethany as the first college in West Virginia to offer a student-led investment fund of this kind and one of only a handful of small colleges across the nation to do so.

The McCann Family Student Investment Fund will be administered by the students, with support from an expert advisory council. Students will be responsible for researching stocks, persuading associates of the wisdom of their investment recommendations and executing trades. They will be evaluated on their performance and will be required to develop regular reports on the results of their activities and work to best practice corporate governance and the highest standards of fiduciary care.

“The magnitude of this project is a reflection of how Cindy and I feel about Bethany,” McCann, a leading figure in the American Ireland Fund, shared. “The fund is an incredible opportunity for Bethany students to engage in unique, specialized learning experiences and enrich their education.”

Robert McCann, Chief Executive Officer of UBS Wealth Management Americas, is a 1980 graduate of Bethany College and serves as Vice Chairman of Bethany’s Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Cindy McCann, were inspired to initiate the venture in part because of the positive experience he had with a similar project as a graduate student at the Neeley School of Business of Texas Christian University (TCU), where he earned his M.B.A. McCann credits his experience with the TCU Educational Investment Fund as being the most valuable learning experience he had there and hopes to provide the same opportunity for Bethany students.

Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of Bethany College, stated, “Bob and Cindy’s commitment to Bethany over the years has been unique. The McCann Family Student Investment Fund adds another distinctive feature to the Bethany curriculum. For students to have the ability to invest these funds directly and be responsible for the performance of the fund is truly a remarkable opportunity.” 

“The McCann Family Investment Fund has truly enriched my educational experience at Bethany College through allowing me to apply classroom concepts to real world portfolio management,” stated Bethany College student Kelly Sofka, Chief Executive Officer of the fund. Sofka continued, “Managing real money has motivated me to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for informed investment decision making and securities analysis. Participating in the fund has been an invaluable opportunity that has enhanced my academic experience and has contributed to my future career success.”

Though the McCann Family Student Investment Fund will be administered by Bethany College students, it will maintain a core group of external officers that are appointed by Mr. McCann and serve as an External Advisory Committee to the students and the fund. The external committee consists of Brian McCann of Reston, Va.; George M. Davis, a 1978 graduate of Bethany; Tom Miller, a 1977 graduate of the College; and David Jablonowski, a 1980 graduate. William Booker of Chatham, N.J., will work with the students in executing investments. Along with the External Institutional Committee, a Faculty Advisory Committee will help form the fund’s overall Advisory Committee. The Faculty Advisory Committee will consist of the Department of Business and Economics faculty, as well as Bethany’s President, Executive Vice President and General Council and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

The fund will seek favorable long-term total return through capital appreciation and investment income primarily from equities as well as fixed income securities. Investments in common stocks as well as investment grade bonds will be emphasized. The fund will invest in “growth” stocks and “value” stocks and will seek stocks that provide dividend income and stocks that have the potential for capital appreciation, and investments will be made in both domestic and international securities.

In addition to financial performance, the McCann Family Student Investment Fund will, through its Advisory Committee, emphasize key principles of client service, sustainable investing and effective corporate governance in order to provide students with the most valuable and comprehensive investment management learning experience possible.

Fifty percent of the fund’s investment income will be reinvested into the McCann Family Student Investment Fund. The remaining 50 percent will serve to support the McCann Learning Center at Bethany College. The Center was established in 2007 and is designed to enhance the learning skills of all students, including students with disabilities, and to support the heightened performance of faculty and staff. The Center aids more than 100 students each week through services such as one-on-one appointments with staff, study sessions, tutoring and supplemental instruction, as well as drop-in appointments for specific math, technology, writing and other assignment questions. Like the student investment fund, the McCann Learning Center was born out of the McCanns’ passion for Bethany and their desire to cultivate the continued success of the students, faculty and staff who help make Bethany one of the nation’s premiere private colleges.

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