Gift supports simulation and trading classroom at Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business

Best classroomFairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business has received a $140,000 gift from Oliver Patrell, a member of its Advisory Council, to benefit the school's high-tech Business Education Simulation & Trading  (BEST) Classroom.

The gift will be used to support the classroom's ongoing operations, including upgrades for software, data services, faculty support and hardware. The state-of-the-art BEST classroom offers students a chance to learn lessons in the dynamics of trading and the volatility of the stock market.

The BEST Classroom supports the Dolan School's mission that students be equipped with knowledge in current business concepts and practices. Using top-notch software, students make simulated real time transactions, and the room mirrors what one would encounter working in an electronic financial services environment. It boasts a streaming ticker, big board showcasing gains and losses, multi-purpose PCs that function as trading terminals and software used on Wall Street.

Norm Solomon, Ph.D., dean of the Dolan School, said the gift was the result of Oliver Patrell's membership on the Dolan School of Business Advisory Council. Mr. Patrell is former chairman and president of Colonial Penn Insurance. "We are grateful to Oliver for his generous gift, as well as the tremendous amount of guidance and insight that he continues to share with us. He has a strong commitment to the Dolan School."

The Dolan Advisory Council is comprised of top executives from an array of prominent companies. After graduating from Brown University in 1950, Mr. Patrell worked for Aetna Casualty & Surety Co for 32 years.

During his last 13 years working for the insurance company, Mr. Patrell restructured major divisions to solve operating and profitability problems. In 1982, he embarked on a new career working with a major investment company and went to work acquiring troubled or insolvent insurance companies, and returning them to profitability. His distinguished career included working with Empire Insurance Group of New York, and La Caja de Ahoro y Seguros of Argentina.  In 1995, it was through an old friend, Walter G. Ryba, Jr., J.D., the late dean of the then Fairfield University School of Business, Mr. Patrell came to Fairfield. He made a presentation to students about his experience in the acquisition and restructuring of the largest insurance company in Argentina. "I later became a member of one of the earlier Advisory Councils and fell in love with Fairfield University. I have been active since. As a member of the Advisory Council, I had an early opportunity to have a tour of the BEST Classroom with Dean Norm Solomon. I was impressed. To me, this 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."

Dr. Solomon said, "The funds will help us with our ongoing efforts to provide our students with experiential learning opportunities. The BEST classroom has cutting edge technology and continues to be a vital resource for our students. They receive hands-on lessons in behavior of financial markets and come face to face with experiences they would encounter in the business world. It undoubtedly gives our students a competitive edge in the job market to have these lessons."

The Advisory Council is charged with advising the dean of the Dolan School on broad issues that serve the long-range goals of the School. Members promote educational programs of the school, serve as and find high-profile guest lecturers, assist as mentors to students, help provide student internships, and serve as a sounding board to the dean in regards to the advancement of the school and its vision.

The Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University is a leader in business curriculum innovation. An AACSB International-accredited program, The Dolan School annually serves some 1400 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs, preparing students to advance within their professions and empowering them to become leaders in their fields. In addition to substantial professional business experience, faculty members are recognized nationally and internationally for their scholarship. The school, which was named one of the best business schools in the country by The Princeton Review in the company's 2007 edition of its "Best 282 Business Schools," is housed in a technology-rich building dedicated to excellence in a business-learning environment - a facility that is among the best in the nation. For more information on the Dolan School of Business program offerings, call (203) 254-4070, or e-mail:

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on January 22, 2007

Vol. 39, No. 125

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