History and Mission

In 2004, the Financial Economics Institute (FEI) was developed under the leadership of Janet Smith, the Von Tobel Professor of Economics at CMC and William Brown, a former CMC Associate Professor of Economics. Built to foster financial economics education and research in the context of the liberal arts environment at Claremont McKenna College, the Institute is supported by a Board of Advisors and Associates led by James McElwee ’74 P’12, an independent venture capitalist and former General Partner of Weston Presidio.

Since its inception, the FEI has offered CMC students a rigorous educational opportunity that is distinguished by both its liberal arts emphasis and quantitative orientation. One of the Institute’s primary objectives has been to provide databases and other resources to support faculty and student research. By utilizing a grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation to create the Financial Economics Institute Laboratory and investing in a broad array of financial databases, the FEI has enabled students and faculty to collaborate on research projects through the Institute’s Student Research Analyst program. The databases have also provided hundreds of students across the Claremont Colleges with access to information that has been utilized in class projects and senior theses.

In order to promote student and faculty research opportunities, the Institute has received generous support from BMGI and CMC Trustee Michael Larson ’80 since 2004. The BMGI/Michael Larson Asset Management Fellowship Program offers financial support and research experience for juniors and seniors at CMC who are interested in careers involving asset management and investment management. The program provides $15,000 scholarships annually in the form of merit awards.

In 2005, the FEI began supporting the Financial Economics Sequence, a unique curricular program that is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in the financial sector and/or graduate education in economics, finance, and related fields. The Sequence has a rigorous quantitative focus and is intended to complement majors in economics, economics-accounting, and mathematics, as well as dual majors having an economics component.

The FEI has also provided programming that has bridged theory and practice to enhance the student experience at CMC. By hosting events such as conferences on The Boundaries of SEC Regulation and The Future of Securities Fraud Litigation, bringing world-renowned finance experts to the Athenaeum through the FEI Speaker Series, and providing support for the annual student-organized Claremont Finance Conference, the Institute has offered students and faculty numerous opportunities to explore new perspectives and learn outside of the classroom.

Since 2005, the FEI has also been instrumental in providing CMC students with networking opportunities and CMC alumni with the ability to re-connect with the College. Throughout its history, the FEI has sponsored networking trips to New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles that have enabled students to learn about potential employment opportunities while engaging with CMC alumni. Today, the FEI continues to co-sponsor the annual New York City Networking Trip each January to give sophomores and juniors exposure to the financial services industry early in their college careers.

While the FEI has evolved since its beginnings, we are excited to develop new programming and learning opportunities that will enrich the experience for CMC students.