Penn State Altoona trading club receives support from Hollidaysburg couple
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 742 hits
ALTOONA – A ceremony designed to recognize the success of students participating in the Penn State Altoona Trading Club unexpectedly evolved into a philanthropic celebration when Dr. Carroll P. and Diane S. Osgood, of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, presented a gift to the college to sustain their original funding of the club’s activities.
The ongoing philanthropic support of the Osgoods enables the Penn State Altoona Trading Club to present monetary awards to students managing an investment portfolio on a virtual trading platform while acquiring a broader understanding of how financial markets function.
During the awards ceremony to announce the winners of the fall semester competition, which began October 1 and concluded November 29, 2012, the Osgoods presented a $500 ceremonial check to Justin Merrell, a freshman from Gaithersburg, Maryland, who placed first by expanding his portfolio approximately $9,000 over two months of virtual trading. Trading Club advisor Robert E. Belsterling praised Merrell for excelling as the market dropped nearly 500 points during the trading period for a 3.6 percent loss.
The Osgoods’ original gift made it possible for the Trading Club to present awards totaling $1,500 to the ten students with the highest portfolio values on the final day of trading. Each award was based on a student’s ranking on the virtual trading platform. Faculty in the Division of Business and Engineering served as judges of the competition.
“We are pleased to continue supporting the Trading Club program and Penn State Altoona,” Dr. Osgood said. “We value the program and this fine institution of higher learning.”
Awards funded by the Osgoods’ original gift were first presented for the 2012 spring semester competition. All awards are credited to the students’ Penn State accounts to defray educational expenses.
“The Trading Club experience is true to life, and allows students to gain a competitive edge in understanding the intricacies of finance and how global markets function,” said Belsterling, instructor in Economics, Finance, and Accounting. “Students trade stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, and futures and spot contracts for world currencies and commodities on more than twenty global exchanges, based on real-time data. Students learn as much from their mistakes as they do from their successes. Holding trading competitions, with real cash prizes, makes things even more exciting, and certainly increases the competitive spirit of the participants.”
The information and software available through the Michael and Gail Irwin Family Trading Room in the Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence provides easy access to the financial data students in the Trading Club needed to assess potential investments. The room also served as a meeting place for students to debate the merits of their investment choices.
"The Trading Club has been an amazing experience that has enabled me and other students to gain experience with stock market investing applications,” said Merrell, an electro-mechanical engineering major. “The simulation encouraged me to invest personally in the market.”
Over the years, the Osgoods have provided support for a wide variety of initiatives at Penn State Altoona and the University. The Osgoods have been recognized for their giving with induction into Penn State Altoona’s Ivyside Society, which was established by the college’s Advisory Board in 1987 to honor those who, through their philanthropic support and leadership, share a commitment to the continuing excellence of Penn State Altoona.
“Ozz and I are pleased to provide a gift that supports students participating in a valuable academic program designed to supplement classroom learning,” said Diane Osgood. “I am fond of a quote by the late Fred Rogers: ‘The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings.’ Our hope is that students in the Trading Club will long benefit from their experience and enjoy success in their chosen profession."
The Osgoods’ original gift also supported the Trading Club’s field trip this fall to the Museum of American Finance in Lower Manhattan and a historic walking tour of Wall Street. The core mission of the museum is to promote financial education through lifelong learning. Exhibits provide visitors with a deeper understanding of financial markets and our nation’s economy. A highlight of the trip was an escorted ninety-minute walking tour of the Financial District. Commentary focused on the political, financial, and architectural history of Wall Street and New York City.
“On behalf of Penn State Altoona, I express thanks to the Osgoods for their interest in our students and ongoing philanthropic support of our Trading Club program,” said N. Susan Woodring, director of Development and Alumni Relations. “Benefactors like Ozz and Diane make it possible for our students and faculty to do some tremendous things. We are most grateful for their giving.”