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College of Business receives $1.5 million gift

Loyola press release - June 20, 2011

Ever since Carlos Ayala ‘57 graduated with a business degree from Loyola University New Orleans, he credited his education for his remarkable success in life and as an investor. After graduating, Ayala returned home to Cuba, where he was involved in a serious car accident. While in rehab in New York, he began his career as salesman, eventually relocating to Miami. After retiring in the mid-90s for health reasons, he concentrated his efforts on investing in the stock market. Through rigorous research and long before the ease and lightning speed of the Internet, Ayala did his homework and took his initial investment of $30,000 and turned it into millions.

Prior to this death earlier this year, Ayala made one final significant investment, this time in Loyola.

Ayala’s investment is a $1.5 million gift to Loyola’s College of Business to support its finance program. A portion of the gift will add $900,000 to an existing student-managed investment fund, bringing its total value to $1 million. Finance professor Ron Christner, Ph.D., teaches the student-managed investment fund class where finance majors solely manage investments. The remainder of the money will be allocated within the finance concentration for scholarships, funding for more investment finance classes, a research database system and stock trading room.

Ayala’s daughter Lily Ayala Berlyn ’89 said no matter where he was in life, her father kept Loyola close to his heart and wanted tomorrow’s students to have the tools needed to graduate and hit the ground running.

“My dad cherished his days at Loyola. It provided him with a wonderful education which he used for work and investing,” Ayala Berlyn said. “He did very well including last year. I don't think he had any losses during the recession - only gains!”

“This momentous gift will have a tremendous impact on the College of Business for a long time,” said College of Business Dean William Locander, Ph.D. “The creation of a fund this size puts Loyola in a top class of student-managed funds in the country. Our students will have a unique opportunity to learn by investing, just as Mr. Ayala did.”

Christner agrees that having a $1 million investment fund puts Loyola in elite company among other business schools.

“Probably at most, only five to ten percent of business schools in the United States even have a student-managed investment fund, and only a few have a fund this large,” he said. “For our graduating students looking for a job, being able to go into an interview and say that they helped manage a million dollar stock portfolio makes them stand out.”

The students that will run the investment fund are broken into teams. Each team has to select the stocks, undertake exhaustive research and make a recommendation to the entire class. After team presentations, the class chooses which stocks to invest in, how much, when to buy and when to sell. The student-managed fund has cleared more than $40,000 dollars in the past two years and has provided two scholarships to business students.

“When we started this fund two years ago, the class picked Ford Motor Company, which at that time was trading around $2 a share,” said Christner. “As of Wednesday, it was worth more than $13 a share. Now the question is do we sell? It’s a decision these students are being called to make.”

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LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.