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02/29/2008

Winthrop Alumna's $1.25 Million Gift to Create Business Trading Center


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Kris Carroll, from left, Pres. Anthony DiGiorgio and Vivian Carroll
ROCK HILL, S.C. - A Charlotte, N.C., couple will donate $1.25 million to Winthrop University to create a business and trading center within the College of Business Administration to help prepare students and area businesses for a global market.

Vivian M. and Larry W. Carroll, both Rock Hill natives, have spent years working in the financial services industry. Winthrop officials announced the gift during a Feb. 29 luncheon and unveiled plans to name its new business auditorium building the Vivian M. Carroll Hall. Inside the two-story building located by the college’s home, Thurmond Building, will be the Carroll Capital Markets Training and Trading Center.

Winthrop officials praised the Carrolls for providing a significant gift to the university.

“The Carrolls’ gift will allow us to use this magnificent new facility to show how changes in capital markets around the world come together to influence every economy,” said President Anthony DiGiorgio. “It helps complete our strategy of producing future business leaders who have a 21st century blend of strong fundamentals in wealth management, highly specialized technical trading skills and a global perspective on the ever-changing world financial markets.”

Specifically, the Carrolls’ gift will provide initial funding for electronic trading equipment within the center and an endowment for operations and future equipment upgrades, as well as academic and community educational programming.

The Vivian M. Carroll Hall will contain several interesting features:

* 195-seat auditorium
* trading room with 20-24 computers, 12-foot electronic ticker board , four large displays, two television monitors and adjoining conference room with smart capabilities
* two instructional computer classrooms
* computer science computer lab
* collaborative learning room for four to eight students working in groups

Roger Weikle, dean of the business college, said the Carrolls have created an exciting time for the College of Business Administration.

The trading center will become an integral part of the educational experience for the college’s graduate and undergraduate students. Computers will have software for simulated trading, deal capture, settlement, portfolio management and derivatives pricing, as well as access to Reuters and other databases.

From the freshman to the senior year, Carroll Hall will permit the business faculty to make assignments to show how world events interact to influence the value of companies, currencies, and interest rates, Weikle said. “These markets have a huge impact on business cycles and politics,” he added.

The Carrolls’ gift will help the university to improve its teaching, enhance students’ analytical skills by giving them opportunities to participate in simulated trading and enable the college to offer specialized seminars on economic issues. It also will serve as a data resource and training center for the local business community, particularly mid-size companies who may not have access to this type of information and technology.

Such companies will have the opportunity to use the computer-equipped classrooms as a “decision support facility.” With the use of anonymous suggestions and polling of preferences, groups can quickly and without the impact of personalities and status reach creative solutions to difficult problems.

Both of the Carrolls understand the value of a sound business foundation. Vivian retired from Merrill Lynch in 2001 after spending more than 20 years building a successful financial planning practice. Larry is president of Carroll Financial Associates, a Charlotte-based financial planning and investment management firm.

Vivian graduated from Winthrop in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. She is currently first vice president of the Winthrop University Alumni Association Executive Board.

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