After a lifetime of experience, Richard Charlton ’65 knows what business executives want to see in business students. As an entrepreneur and investor who founded New England Pension Consultants, now industry leader NEPC, Charlton is in a unique position to do something about that.
Today, University of Detroit Mercy announced the creation of The Charlton Center for Responsible Investing in the College of Business Administration, funded by a gift of $3 million from College of Engineering & Science alumnus Richard Charlton ’65. It is the largest single gift from a living alumnus to the current $100-million Campaign for University of Detroit Mercy.
The announcement of this new center of excellence comes at a pivotal time. According to a 2018 survey conducted by the Certified Financial Planners Board Center for Financial Planning, only 3.5% of the 80,000 certified financial planners in the United States are black or Latino. Charlton’s gift and the Center for Responsible Investing will have a direct, measurable impact on the recruitment of minority students into the financial markets field and over time help to reverse this trend. This center represents a bold step on the part of Charlton and the University to bring important change to the industry and reinforce Detroit Mercy’s history, commitment and mission to the city of Detroit.
The center will provide a holistic approach to investment education, which includes recruitment of under-represented students, promotion of research and programming skills, understanding of long-term asset allocation, preparation for professional certifications, experiential learning opportunities and community and industry engagement, among other activities. Specific initiatives of the center will comprise the following:
- Recruit students interested in finance, with a deliberate focus on minority recruitment.
- Assist finance students in securing relevant internships and professional employment in the institutional investment field, including investment banking, as well as in the financial divisions of major corporations and other institutions.
- Educate future finance and investment professionals by integrating technological and investment education, with an eye to providing the tools professionals will need in the workplace.
- Establish a speaker series to attract prominent investment experts on topics such as finance and technology, algorithmic finance or artificial intelligence.
- Provide support for finance students to undertake field trips to financial institutions, compete in investment competitions on a regular basis, and pursue professional certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations.
- Expand the Majestic Fund, through an initial gift and ongoing fundraising, to a level that will allow proper diversification of assets and generate returns to enhance the Finance program, while maintaining the emphasis on asset allocation and the adherence to Jesuit and Mercy principles. The Majestic Fund is a student-run portfolio of real financial assets.
- Initiate a small student-run social Innovation fund to provide loans on a competitive basis to start-up social enterprises that receive business skills training through the College’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship.
- Develop a student-run investment newsletter for regional distribution that covers the Charlton Center’s activities while also containing data, trends, news and feature stories on socially-responsible investment opportunities and investors in Detroit.
- Provide graduate assistantships through which students would be hired to assist the Charlton Center’s director and assist finance faculty with course preparation and scholarly research.
- Develop a self-sustaining source of funding for these programs.
“This initiative is focused on establishing additional avenues of opportunity,” Charlton said. “Having lived in the city of Detroit proper for 16 years and having had the privilege of recruiting management employees for Michigan Bell and the Bell System during part of that time, with a conscious focus on minorities and women, I became aware that there is a significant talent pool that often goes untapped. To the extent that we can enhance opportunities and facilitate the realization of that talent, I believe we are all winners.”
Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi agreed.
“Richard Charlton’s gift directly supports our mission and traditional of academic excellence and commitment to our community,” he said. “With this generous contribution, students who once thought a Detroit Mercy education might not be possible can now work toward their degree in the financial and investment fields with the support of this new center of excellence. It will truly make a life-changing difference in the lives of many students.”
Detroit Mercy has enjoyed a long history of service to minority and underrepresented students, dating back to 1922, when Henry H. Tarrant became the first African-American graduate of the School of Law. The Charlton Center for Responsible Investing further enhances the University’s commitment to the community and Detroit-area students.
The Center for Responsible Investing joins several other centers of excellence in the College of Business Administration. These include The Center for Social Entrepreneurship, America’s Business High School, The Financial Markets Lab and the Center for Practice & Research in Management & Ethics (PRIME). In addition, the College’s graduate and undergraduate Management programs are consistently ranked among the nation’s top 25 by U.S. News & World Report.