Generous gift from State Farm promises to increase financial literacy in South Florida.

One of the jewels in the College of Business Administration’s building complex at Florida International University (FIU) is its 2,200 square-foot state-of-the-art trading, research and teaching laboratory. The facility features 50 high-end, networked workstations, advanced audio-visual systems, and LCD screens with real-time data from fixed income, equity and foreign exchange markets, using Bloomberg as the marquee information source. Supported by a generous grant from State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, the State Farm Financial Literacy Lab will enable the college to expand its role in the education of business students and the local community.

State Farm representatives got a firsthand look at the newly named State Farm Financial Literacy Lab.

The grant will support the operation of the lab and eight service learning projects led by FIU students in collaboration with State Farm employees and FIU faculty, during 2011-14.

“The community outreach projects will engage a diverse spectrum of South Florida residents through educational activities that foster financial literacy, a reflection of State Farm’s and FIU’s commitment to promote financial education in the region’s communities,” said Helen Simon, director of the lab.

“This partnership is a win-win for students and communities in South Florida,” said Jim Thompson, senior vice president and head of State Farm’s Florida activities. “Financial literacy is critical to the future success of our young people. Part of our mission at State Farm is to help people realize their dreams.  Much of that begins with the basic financial skills which many teens and young adults need to develop.”

According to State Farm Operations Vice President and Chair of the State Farm Education Initiative in Florida, Cheryl Herrin, “We are very excited to be a part of the FIU family. The sponsorship of the State Farm Financial Literacy Lab represents an investment in the lives and futures of our young adults. Florida’s future depends on the quality education provided to our students, and this partnership is just one of the ways State Farm is helping to strengthen our communities and workforce of tomorrow.”

Annabelle Rojas, (MBA ’98, BBA ’87), assistant dean, advancement, alumni and corporate relations, College of Business Administration; Nicole Kaufman, director, corporate and foundation relations, FIU; Joyce J. Elam, executive dean, College of Business Administration; Barry Shiflett, director, career management services, College of Business Administration; Helen Simon, director, State Farm Financial Literacy Lab; Cheryl Herrin, State Farm operations vice president and chair of the State Farm Education Initiative in Florida; Jackie Valle, coordinator, corporate and foundation relations, FIU; Jim Thompson, senior vice president and head of State Farm’s Florida activities; Monique Catoggio, (EMBA ’03), director of advancement and alumni relations, College of Business Administration; and Don Dye, human resources representative, State Farm

Executive Dean lauds donation.

For Joyce J. Elam, a strong supporter of the lab since its inception, the grant validates the value of the facility, State Farm’s leadership and the strength of the relationship between the company and the college.

Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam

“Our partnership with State Farm exemplifies the corporation’s commitment to foster the skills needed to promote financial stability throughout South Florida’s multicultural communities,” she said. “We are honored to collaborate with State Farm and look forward to the development of engaging projects that mutually advance the college’s academic mission and State Farm’s philanthropic vision.”

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