Schools Respond to Terrorist Attacks

After September 11, 2001, business schools acted quickly to offer help to the residents and businesses of New York City and Washington, D.C.

WHEN TRAGEDY STRUCK New York City last September, among the institutions acting quickly to offer help were business schools in the affected cities of New York and Washington, D.C., as well as schools in other parts of the country.

At Baruch College—The City University of New York, the way to help was immediate and obvious: offer the virtual trading floor at Subotnick Center for Financial Services as an actual trading floor for about 30 displaced Wall Street commodities brokers.

Bruce Weber, director of the Subotnick Center, arranged to have 20 additional phone lines installed. “We also had to get permission to turn this place from a simulated trading environment to an actual trading room,” he says. Permission was granted by Reuters, which supplies the center with live data feeds from exchanges all over the world. “Not only did Reuters agree to let us trade, they arranged immediate access to the London International Financial Futures Exchange Chicago Board of Trade, which we previously lacked,” says Weber.

In more normal times, the Subotnick Financial Services Center and the Bert and Sandra Wasserman Trading Floor are used to give students experience with instant financial decision-making in actual trading situations. Some of the students have stayed around to watch the traders in action, says Weber. He adds, “They learned a lot.”

Other schools, both in New York and elsewhere, responded to the terrorist attacks with fund-raising efforts, memorial gifts, and other actions:

■ Students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., raised thousands of dollars for the Red Cross and sponsored blood drives on campus, noted Julie Green Bataille from the school’s office of communications. “Our medical students volunteered their services at ground zero in New York, and our law students offered assistance to victims and families in need of legal services,” she says.

The school also learned that a recent alum, Daniel Walker McNeal, had been killed in the WTC attacks while in his office at Sandler O’Neill. Students, alumni, and school officials have banded together to create an award that will be handed out in McNeal’s name. Although details are still being finalized, friend and fellow alum Tobin Richardson says it will be a service award that will go to a second-year student who best exemplifies McNeal’s traits of selflessness, high ethical standards, and great personal energy. The school also is considering naming an auditorium after McNeal.

■ The Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University in Columbus created a September 11 Memorial Endowment to support student programs at the college. The endowment was established in memory of alumni who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and in the plane crash in western Pennsylvania.

“At this time, we have been informed of one alumnus, Peter Mardikian, who died in this tragic event,” said Joseph A. Alutto, dean of the college. Mardikian’s family requested that any memorials sent on his behalf be given to the college, Alutto said. The college allocated $25,000 from its current resources to establish this endowment. Should the college learn of other alumni who died in the terrorist attacks, their names will be added to the fund.

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana prepared a list of faculty members who might provide help to governmental and financial institutions, as well as reporters looking for commentary on the issues of terrorism and war. Among those on the list were professors with expertise in international peace studies, Arabic and Islamic studies, religious issues, international relations, international law, international finance, and civil engineering.

New York University Stern School of Business and a partnership of New York City financial institutions hosted a “Back to Business” forum in November to help more than 10,000 small businesses rebuild in the wake of the disaster. The forum offered small businesses a full range of federal, state, city, and private financial and technical sources of assistance. It was sponsored by Stern, Bank of New York, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Fleet Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, and New York City Economic Development Corporation. Also on hand were representatives from other organizations, such as insurance claims agents, the U.S. Department of Labor, and New York State Small Business Development Centers.

Businesses who need long-term help have been linked to Stern Rebuilds, a free consulting group comprising NYU Stern MBA students, faculty, bank, and legal representatives. Stern Rebuilds is a cross-functional, multilingual program that offers practical, customized business solutions to small and medium New York City businesses affected by the September 11 tragedy. Stern Rebuilds teams help business owners in shortand long-term business plan development; marketing planning; financial strategy such as identifying funding needs; and SBA loan applications.

New York’s Pace University also responded by hosting two events focused on the future of business. Academics and business leaders attended “The Future of Financial Markets in New York,” which was sponsored by JP Morgan Chase and featured panelists from the Federal Reserve Board and Goldman Sachs.

The second event—a planned conference called “Will the Securities Industry Meet Its ACID Test?”—was revamped to provide a forum for discussing the impact of the disaster on the New York economy. Among the featured guests were the president of the New York Stock Exchange and the CEO of the National Association of Securities Dealers.

“In addition, our Small Business Development Center has been assisting businesses affected by the tragedy in securing recovery loan funds, management and technical assistance, and free one-on-one counseling,” says Barbara Rose Aglietti, director of Pace’s office of communications and external relations. “Since the attacks, the center has assisted more than 30 small businesses.”