The Trading Room in SUNY Geneseo’s School of Business is now the Edward Pettinella ’73 Trading Room in honor of the generous alumnus, whose $750,000 gift to the College will create an endowment to support the annual operating costs of the applied learning lab.
The College cut the ribbon two years ago for the facility, which gives Geneseo business students real-time trading experience through state-of-the-art technology.
“Ed’s philanthropic support will solidly secure the future of the Trading Room for the many students who will use it to help build their careers,” said Geneseo President Denise A. Battles. “Just as the Trading Room grew from a vision of excellence in education, we celebrate the vision Ed embraces of alumni involvement in supporting the next generation of business students,” she said. “We enthusiastically join Ed as a partner in that critical mission.”
Students are using the trading room for a variety of academic projects related to finance and management, such as the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), an organization in which students trade real securities.
“I’ve come to fully appreciate our responsibility as successful alumni in business and industry to give the next generation of students the incentive to also work hard and succeed in our global economy,” said Pettinella, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business management at Geneseo and an MBA at Syracuse University. “Today’s technology-driven world requires us to enthusiastically support such projects as the Trading Room,” he said. “As alumni, we receive great satisfaction envisioning ourselves using these valuable educational tools through the eyes of today’s students. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Throughout his extensive business career, Pettinella spent 28 years working at several multi-billion-dollar financial services companies, including Rochester Community Savings Bank, Charter One Bank, and Ford Motor Credit Corporation, headquartered in Detroit. In 2001, Pettinella joined Home Properties, which operated, developed, acquired, and rehabilitated apartment communities in the coastal Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. He soon became president and CEO of the company’s $7 billion real estate investment trust (REIT), which he took to new heights before shepherding the company through a purchase by another fund.
The Edward Pettinella ’73 Trading Room is equipped with several Bloomberg terminals, which contain real-time and historical data on equities, fixed income and derivative securities, and data on the foreign exchange markets.
“This is more than just a room with some chairs and computer terminals,” said Brandon Lee, a junior accounting major and finance minor from Stony Brook, N.Y., and the vice president of the SMIF. “It is a place for us to gather and be surrounded by others who share our interest in finance, whether we are working in groups or by ourselves. The Bloomberg terminals provide an incredible depth of information that enables me to build on what I learn in class and be able to engage in equity analysis the same way professionals do,” said Lee. “It is preparing me for my future, and I am grateful Mr. Pettinella has joined me and my fellow students in our educational journey.”
The Geneseo Foundation, a not-for-profit organization affiliated with the College that encourages philanthropic contributions in support of students, programs, and activities at Geneseo, has entrusted the SMIF an allocation of funds for the purpose of student management with professional oversight. Foundation Board Chair John Gleason ’87 praised Pettinella for his foresight in preparing students for future success.
“I know from my own personal experience in financial services that Geneseo’s business graduates are already in great demand, primarily because of their extraordinary preparation,” said Gleason. “This Trading Room is reinforcing that preparation in a big way. The success of our students is built upon our commitment to their success. Ed understands that, and it will now be a powerful reminder of his commitment whenever we enter the Edward Pettinella ’73 Trading Room at SUNY Geneseo.”
School of Business Dean Mary Ellen Zuckerman praised Pettinella’s gift, saying that the room and the software and related activities will be an enduring legacy.
“Ensuring the sustainability of this room and the dynamic activities taking place is an incredible gift,” she said. “It will be appreciated by students for years to come.”
Zuckerman gave credit to a former chair of the Business Advisory Council member Tom DeMott for originating the idea of the Trading Room and to faculty member Mike Schinski for his role in advancing the project.
The construction of Trading Room, located on the first floor of South Hall, was funded by generous alumni donors, and President Battles recognized a few of the key donors: John ’87 and MaryGrace ’84 Gleason; Dan ’86 and Nancy ’86 Loughran; Bob ’83 and Elizabeth Murray; and Bob ’83 and Deborah Walley. Among the major contributors to the original construction were alumni: Michael Camarella ’98, who led the charge in establishing the facility, Kristin Castner ’94, Roger Lavan ’85, Jim Mollen ’94, and Tim Ostrander ’83.