Don Seeley Fund for Excellence in Finance
Don Seeley moved to Tucson with his wife, Hope, to retire after a successful career as a Chicago business executive. He could have easily spent the last 10 years soaking up the sun, golfing, and enjoying the free time that comes with retirement.
Instead, he approached the Eller College of Management to see if there was some way for him to get involved in business education.
"At that first meeting it was clear that Don is extraordinary - both in his capabilities and his dedication to, and willingness to help young people," said Christopher Lamoureux, head of the Finance Department and the Diamond Professor of Finance.
Lamoureux and Seeley discussed the possibility of starting a course that enabled students to manage an actual investment portfolio. Seeley developed the format that evolved into the Applied Portfolio Management course, which has become one of the department's most successful offerings.
"What I could not have imagined when conceiving this class was how rich a learning environment it would become," Lamoureux said. "Master's students actually manage teams of undergraduate students - the former gaining critical managerial skills under Don's guidance, while the latter learn how to work in a professional atmosphere."
Seeley's class has managed a portion of the University of Arizona Foundation endowment, an investment portfolio that provides annual income for areas such as scholarships, research and faculty support.
Over its entire 10-year life, the Finance Department's Student Managed Portfolio has beaten its benchmark by 343 basis points per year. (The portfolio's average annual return since inception is 5.93%, as compared to the 2.50% return on the benchmark: 70% S&P 500, 30% Barclay's Aggregate Bond Index.)
Seeley helped organize and served many years as chair of the departmental Advisory Board and also served as a member of the University's Investment Committee. Seeley's students selected him for the Eller College 2007 Don Wells Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award.
Now, as he retires for a second time, the department has established the Don Seeley Fund for Excellence in Finance to honor his service to the University.
"I will miss him and I want to express gratitude on behalf of hundreds of students and a department that is so much richer for the generous gift of his time," Lamoureux said.