Gift strengthens Fisher’s investment in Parkes Trading Room

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Finance students in the School of Business at St. John Fisher College will continue to have the opportunity for experiential learning in the investment world thanks to a $350,000 gift from Walter and Barbara Parkes. 

This gift pledged a $300,000 to benefit the Walter and Barbara Parkes Trading Room Endowment, supporting the technology and equipment needs of the space. The Parkes also gifted $50,000 to the Student Investment Club to add to its investment portfolio. 

“We are so grateful that Walt and Barbara have continued to provide avenues for Fisher students to immerse themselves in the financial industry,” President Gerard Rooney said. “Through the Parkes’ generosity, our students are seeing firsthand the benefits of experiential learning opportunities in a state-of-the-art, cutting-edge space.” 

This gift builds on an earlier $500,000 investment on behalf of the Parkes to create the interactive trading lab in the Victor E. Salerno Center for American Enterprise. The lab, which opened in fall 2019, is equipped with access to Bloomberg Terminals, a software platform that provides real-time and historical data and market moving news and analytics to help leading business and financial professionals worldwide make better-informed investment decisions. 

In addition to the nine Bloomberg Terminal connections in the trading lab, the Parkes’ gift enabled the college to acquire three additional connections, two of which are elsewhere in the Salerno Center and one that is located in Lavery Library. 

The college’s subscriptions to the Bloomberg Terminal serve as a resource for students and professors, enabling students to become familiar with tools used in financial services, reinforcing classroom theory, while professors use it to further their own research. 

Finance students and members of the Student Investment Club place trades through the electronic trading software, using the same technology employed by banks, corporations and government agencies from around the globe. 

“One of our greatest desires is to see students succeed in their major of choice,” Walter Parkes said. “St. John Fisher College is all about advancing their students to achieve their best educational experiences and opportunities. Promoting student success is one of the main reasons we donated the initial 12 Bloomberg machines to the School of Business.” 

Recognizing that once technology is installed, it requires effort to keep it current, the Parkes’ second donation aims to ensure students are exposed to the most up-to-date software as they pursue their educations. 

“We also donated funds to the Student Investment Club for them to engage in ‘real live trading experiences’ on the various stock exchanges,” Parkes said. “What they earn on their investments will strengthen their knowledge of the industry.”