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TCNJ Foundation’s Student Investment Fund provides real-world experience while serving the community

The TCNJ Foundation’s Herbert B. Mayo Student Investment Fund is giving finance students real-world experience in the art of investing while making a difference in the local community by generating scholarships for students in Ewing.

The fund, which tasks the student portfolio managers with monitoring current market conditions and enforcing compliance with investment objectives, was initially created in 2000 by a gift from a faculty member, Herbert B. Mayo, and contributions from alumni. Since its inception, over 300 undergraduate students at the college have participated in determining the portfolio’s allocation and selecting individual securities to buy and/or sell.

“While the financial goal of the fund is the growth in the value of the assets, it also distributes three to four percent of the value of the fund as one-time scholarships to incoming TCNJ students from Ewing as a giveback to the community,” said John Donohue, executive director of the TCNJ Foundation. “Since the fund’s inception, 133 scholarships totaling over $87,000 have been awarded.”

The more assets the fund gains, the more scholarships can be awarded for that year.  Currently the fund’s balance stands at $645,000.

“The experience of participating in this fund is unmatched as far as experiential learning for a finance student,” said Seung Hee Choi, faculty advisory for the fund. “But in addition to the experience of using real funds to strategize investment opportunities, students are able to think about the social and environmental impact of their decisions not just in terms of the companies they are investing in but also how it could impact the funds available for the scholarships. There’s a lengthy conversation with every portfolio selection in terms of how will it impact all of these things.”

Dylan Catania, a senior finance major who has secured a job with Bank of America following graduation, also sees the community connection as a crucial part of the experience.

“The fact that we are able to give back to the community in the form of financial aid really adds to the stakes,” he said. “Every dollar we are able to earn has the potential to help out a student in Ewing with attending TCNJ and that is something we think about every time we have a discussion about how we should proceed.”

Catania also credits his involvement with the fund in growing his confidence in his own abilities in the fast-paced world of finance.

“I feel so well-prepared to start my career because of my experiences at TCNJ and participating in this real-world opportunity that has pushed me to speak out and live a little bit outside of my comfort zone with the technical side of the market,” he said. “All my professors have been in my corner the entire time, and have taken time out of their own personal schedules to help me when needed.”