"We are very grateful to Mark Zurack '78 and Kathy Ferguson for funding the position. It has really helped us recruit a world-class faculty member."
When Kristian Rydqvist joined Binghamton University in 2002, he was determined to put the School of Management in the spotlight. Rydqvist is the Zurack Professor of Finance and Economics, an endowed professorship established through a gift from the Mark A. Zurack and Kathy Ferguson Foundation. Rydqvist was appointed to the professorship after five years at the Norwegian School of Management in Oslo.
One of the first things Rydqvist did at Binghamton was establish a seminar series to build the University's national and international reputation for excellence.
He noticed that top business schools have seminars to share ideas among scholars, but tend to invite only one another. By asking speakers from other schools to present their research at Binghamton, he figured those schools would then reciprocate and invite Binghamton faculty to make presentations at their events. It worked.
Fast-forward 10 years. Binghamton's Briloff Seminar Series (formerly the TIAA-CREF Seminar Series) has featured more than 100 invited speakers who are affiliated with some big names: Cornell University, Columbia University, Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles.
The series also provides an opportunity for Binghamton's own faculty to make presentations, on average, once a year, Rydqvist says.
Briloff Seminar topics have included "Decoding Inside Information" and "Pension Plan Returns and the Firm's Cost of Debt," as well as Rydqvist's own "Direct Evidence on Dividend Tax Clienteles."
Binghamton finance faculty members have been invited to present their work at other academic institutions, too — specifically, on 19 different occasions since 2002.
"The list of outside invitations may appear short in a 10-year period," Rydqvist says, "but the competition for outside seminar slots is tough."
Binghamton is given at least one presentation slot and one discussion slot, with priority offered to junior faculty who are less likely to be invited to make presentations at other universities, according to Rydqvist.
School of Management Dean Upinder Dhillon says Rydqvist's presence at Binghamton has "really elevated the finance area and provided us greater visibility."
The Zurack Professor has been engaged in several projects that include state-of-the-art research in the finance field, particularly in taxation and corporate finance, Dhillon notes.
"We are very grateful to Mark Zurack '78 and Kathy Ferguson for funding the position," Dhillon says. "It has really helped us recruit a world-class faculty member."
Rydqvist's work to build Binghamton's name recognition around the world is far from done.
"Further appearances at international academic conferences will improve the visibility of our school," he says.