20 years of success, one stock at a time
At 3 a.m., most of campus is in bed for the night. But the lights are on in the Davis Center for Portfolio Management. Since 1999, the center has provided access to young investors eager to learn and grow the University's portfolio, no matter the hour.
"You can come in here at 3 a.m., and 10 people are in here," Matt Urbik said. Last spring, the senior manager of the Flyer Investments Fund sat at the center's conference table just before his May 2019 graduation, reflecting on the centers success on the eve of its 20th anniversary. The illuminated stock ticker shone over the heads of students at computer stations connected to industry technology by Bloomberg, FactSet and Morningstar. "This isn't for credit. This isn't for a salary. It's because people are genuinely passionate about learning and contributing to the Davis Center," Urbik said.
Twenty years ago, the University invested in experiential, investment education by handing student portfolio managers its first million dollars. They earned the confidence of the board of trustees, which increased its cash infusion to $11 million by 2010.
"With assets today of approximately $35 million, the student managers have generated capital gains of approximately $24 million," said Davis Center Director Daniel Kapusta. "It is the fourth largest student-managed fund in the country and the largest of any undergraduate program because of the diligence of student managers like Matt Urbik and alumni 600 strong."
Students are responsible for all the research, buying and selling of stocks. They follow the same guidelines and restrictions as UD's other professional money managers, including avoiding investments not aligned with Marianist values.
"Fund performance demonstrates students are prepared well beyond that of their future peers." -John Mittelstaedt, dean,
School of Business Administration
When they graduate, these students are highly sought after by employers, a testament to their education and the mentoring of alumni like Richard Davis '72, who with his wife, Susan, endowed the center. Said former fund senior manager Patti Wachtmen '07, a consulting manager at Analysis Prime, "As a new graduate, you immediately set yourself apart from other new grads by your professionalism."
"My objective is to be No. 1 ... to be the premier student-run portfolio of all colleges in the United States." -Richard Davis '72, mentor and donor
The center will celebrate its anniversary Nov. 2 with reunion events, investment panels featuring alumni and a keynote address at 5 p.m. by Steve Eisman, Wall Street analyst.
And in this 20th anniversary year, students have added another honor to their resume, securing its first outside client, The Dayton Foundation, and managing $1.5 million designated by its donors. Senior Jake Blewitt, current senior manager of the Flyer Investments Fund team, called it a humbling opportunity that will deepen the students' connection to the Dayton community and its commitment to philanthropy.
"Managing the Davis Center and the teams within it taught me about leadership, time management and allowing talented individuals to use their skills and gifts for the good of the team." -Melanie Goss Sejba '03, former fund senior manager, full-time mother of four and part-time staff accountant at Strah and Associates CPA