TUSCALOOSA, Ala.— A $3 million gift to The University of Alabama positions the Culverhouse College of Commerce to become the first business school in the nation to offer a value investing specialization at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Culverhouse alumnus C.T. Fitzpatrick and his wife, Kelley, donated $3 million to the College to create the Vulcan Value Partners Research Library and Trading Room that will offer students a curriculum that provides real-world experience with investing.
“The University has produced some fantastic individuals who can move the needle around the world,” Fitzpatrick said. “We hope to create an army of value investors who will go out and have an impact in the world and ultimately give back to the University, to the state and the region.
The donation will also be used to create the Fitzpatrick Endowed Chair and a second Fitzpatrick endowed professorship in value investing. Fitzpatrick is a value investor who owns Birmingham-based Vulcan Value Partners where he manages more than $10 billion in assets.
“We appreciate the Fitzpatricks’ generosity and involvement with our business school,” said UA President Judy Bonner. “The support of alumni and the ability of our students to be able to take advantage of hands-on opportunities are two reasons why Culverhouse is so widely recognized.”
Fitzpatrick’s company ranks in the top 1 percent of peer group ratings for all investment strategies it manages. He has been featured in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.
Kelley Fitzpatrick, a Tuscaloosa native, is the former Kelley Manderson. The Manderson Graduate School of Business at Culverhouse is named for her father, Lewis Manderson.
“Culverhouse has been in my life for a long, long time,” she explains. “We find the new value investing program very exciting for the students. Every time you walk through Bidgood Hall you’re going to see a glassed-in room with the ticker tape [the active trading room]. Value investing takes a lot of research so C.T. is probably most excited about the research library. I think these additions are a game-changer for the program.”
The research library and trading room will be located in Bidgood Hall along with another recent addition to the College — the first-in-the-nation Business Analytics Lab. The trading room will include computers, stock tickers, a conference table, office space and access to Bloomberg where students will conduct live trades with actual funds donated by Culverhouse alumni. The vision for the space will include a glass enclosed area with monitors and a separate library area with lounge chairs where students can gather to research and discuss value investing.
“We are extremely thankful for the Fitzpatrick donation and what it will bring to the College for our students,” said Dr. J. Michael Hardin, dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce. “This puts our business school at the top for value investment education. We are one of a handful of business schools in the nation to offer a value investing curriculum and the only college to do so at the undergraduate and graduate level. This will help us build an even stronger curriculum in this discipline.”
Fitzpatrick started Vulcan Value Partners in 2007 more than 25 years after graduating from UA. He spent 17 years as a highly successful value investor including a stint on Wall Street. He sold his stake in a previous value investing business to start Vulcan Value Partners in Alabama.
Fitzpatrick has been instrumental in establishing value investing as a curriculum at Culverhouse. He is actively involved in the Culverhouse Investment Management Group (CIMG), a student investment group that won the prestigious regional CFA Institute Research Challenge and brought home the Ridgeworth Cup trophy.
“This generous gift from C.T. Fitzpatrick and his wife Kelley will make a long lasting impact,” said Dr. Matt Holt, department head of economics, finance and legal studies. “Our department already has a reputation for attracting some of the most capable and well-qualified students. The addition of the research library and trading room, along with the addition of new faculty resources, will allow us to continue to build and offer highly visible and effective programs for our current and future students.”
Fitzpatrick’s gift will elevate the current endowed professorship to an endowed chair and a second endowed professorship will be created. The current endowed value-investing professorship is filled by associate professor Shane Underwood. Fitzpatrick is a native of Montgomery.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.