TERRE HAUTE — The Indiana State University Foundation on Friday announced a new gift from benefactors Randall and Nancy Minas of $1.35 million. The donation is earmarked for $350,000 to go to the Randall and Nancy Minas Center for Investment and Financial Education Endowment and the remaining $1 million to boost the future Financial Trading Room in the new College of Business, formerly the Federal Building at Seventh and Cherry streets in downtown Terre Haute.
“We are happy to make this gift because of the opportunities for financial education, which can attract new students to Indiana State,” Randy Minas stated in a news release issued by the ISU Foundation. When the current Financial Trading Room first opened in 2007, it was one of only a handful at a university.
“Currently, we are operating at capacity in the Trading Room,” Nancy Merritt, dean of the College of Business, explained. “With this generous gift, we will be able to double the size of the current Trading Room in the new College of Business building.”
Past experience led the Minases to believe hands-on education would really give ISU students a leg up in being marketable. “Randy would hire high school or college students to work at Merrill Lynch in the summer and they had no hands-on experience,” Nancy said. “Seeing how they reacted to the summer hands-on experience let us know it could really improve their college education.”
This past summer, Randy’s summer employees were members of the ISU Investment Club, which manages a real portfolio in the Financial Trading Room, and he was impressed with how adept they were in the world of investments.
“Randy and Nancy Minas are wonderful people who have a history of making wise investments,” said Indiana State President Daniel J. Bradley. “I deeply appreciate their decision to once again invest in our students by providing exceptional learning opportunities that will prepare them for the business world.”
In the current Trading Room, students can watch two screens at once at each workstation. News feeds keep them abreast of current market conditions. When classes are taught in the room, the professor’s presentation appears on one of the screens.
Creating the new Financial Trading Room takes much more than bricks and mortar. “The biggest challenge is keeping up with technological changes,” Randy Minas explained. With the endowment, ISU will be able to stay on the cutting edge of the market and change as quickly as change occurs.
“ISU has become a place for other schools to come to learn how to set up their own Financial Trading Room,” Dean Merritt said. “We have hosted schools from Indiana, Ohio and even from across the globe.”
The Minases’ vision for the expanded Financial Trading Room goes beyond ISU, as well. Plans are in the works for Continuing Education night classes for the community as well as guest speakers. High school classes may have opportunities, as well, to work in the trading room.
Why are the Minases so passionate about financial education at Indiana State? It’s a family affair. Randy is a 1975 management alumnus (cum laude) with a minor in accounting. Now, he serves the university on the Board of Trustees and Nancy is helping the ISU Foundation as a member of the National Campaign Committee. Their second daughter, Dawn, earned degrees in business administration and psychology from ISU in 2003 and is currently a member of the Alumni Board. Their son, Randy, is currently working on an MBA and works in the College of Business. The Minas family believes in the importance of education to prepare graduates for the work force.
Randy Minas, CFP, is senior vice president with City Securities Corp., a private client group with headquarters in Indianapolis (his office is located in Crown Point). He and Nancy make their home in Crown Point.