What part of the Dolan School of Business boasts a stock ticker straight from Wall Street, a databoard with stock indices and currency, and computers that have the same software as Wall Street? That would be the Business Education Simulation and Trading (BEST) classroom.

In December 2006, the Business School had received a completed gift from Oliver Patrell, a retired businessman and a current member of the business school’s Advisory Council. The gift, totaled $140,000, is the largest gift received by the school of business to date. It will be used to continue the classroom’s operations and programs.

“The gift will be used for the ongoing needs associated with the BEST classroom, including software, hardware and other curricular needs,” said Norman Solomon, dean of the business school.

The software in the 35 workstationsof the BEST classroom includes a Reuters terminal, which provides up-to-date business and economic news; an economics and financial database, a program that shows stock returns for all companies in the United States, and the Rotman Interactive Trader, which is used for market trading simulations.

The classroom also contains a large workstation, a databoard with stock information, space for conferences and a lab that can be accessed by all students with their StagCard at any time of the day.

“To me, this [the BEST classroom] is a major and far reaching teaching innovation, which places the Charles F. Dolan School on a level with the major business schools in this country. I am simply making a small contribution to support it,” said Patrell, the former chairman and president of Colonial Penn Insurance.

Patrell said he became involved with the BEST classroom after touring it with Solomon. His involvement with the University began in 1995 when he made a presentation to students about his experience in the business world. After becoming a member of the Advisory Council, which includes friends of the school and alumni who offer advice on current business issues, Patrell said he “fell in love with Fairfield University,” and has since been involved in business school events.

Solomon, who said he was grateful for Patrell’s gift, described the high-tech suite as “unique” because students from any business class can use the facilities. But finance students, he said, will use the classroom at least once while at Fairfield.

Not only will the students “get to understand all the tools available which all companies use,” they can also gain a deeper understanding of “the important area of business: how does a price get set?” said Solomon.

Solomon hopes the BEST classroom will help students understand how markets operate and work.

Although the classroom is located within the business school, Solomon said it is “in no sense proprietary to the business school. In fact, all students can benefit from it.”

Management major Lisa Arduini ’10 has not yet used the new facilities but thinks it will improve her general experience in the business school.

“As a student, the BEST room gives me the opportunity to experience a part of Wall Street in a classroom setting,” she said. “This will better prepare me for the business world and real life itself. I can experience the stock market in a controlled setting so that I may be better prepared for the day I venture into stocks on my own.”

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