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April 1, 2001

Professor's Cash Donation For Rutgers Trading Class

By Sanford Wexler

Some Rutgers University students are doing more than learning about trading.

Wall Street businessman David Whitcomb, a professor emeritus of the New Jersey state college, has donated $100,000 to Rutgers so that students can manage a real stock portfolio.

"I always felt that hands-on realistic stuff like case studies or running an actual company was a great learning experience," said Whitcomb, who once taught finance at Rutgers, and now heads a successful day trading firm in Charleston, S. C.

To be sure, there is nothing unusual about colleges teaching stock trading with the use of hard cash donated by corporations and alumni.

But Whitcomb's donation may be the first of its kind by a finance professor who made it big in the recent bull market. The student-managed portfolio he endowed consists of 24 stocks. Its return was recently up nearly ten percent for the year. The portfolio has outperformed the S&P 500 as well as several leading mutual funds.

Whitcomb will evenly divide the profits on the portfolio with the university if the students' investments perform well.

Other advocates of real-style trading for students is John Griffin, the former president of Tiger Management and current president of Blue Ridge Capital, a New York-based hedge fund. Griffin, a graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce, the undergraduate business school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., established the McIntire Investment Institute in 1994 with a donation of $100,000. The student-run equities fund is managed by five students while about 50 student-analysts conduct research.