Gordon Heffern believed in ethics and integrity in business and in financial education. He stressed to students who were considering a career in business that character and integrity are the two most important principles in life. Accordingly, we are pleased to announce the Gordon E. Heffern Institute for Contemporary Financial Studies at Ashland University.
It is the goal of the Heffern Institute to develop students into financial professionals who have the skills, talents, and attributes to become productive members of the financial community in the service of the firms with which they choose to affiliate.
We are pleased to locate the Heffern Institute at Ashland University where Gordon’s son, Bob, graduated in 1990. Further, Gordon’s grandson, Rick, graduated with a degree in Finance from the University in May, 2009, and another grandson, Mike, also a Finance major, is set to graduate in May, 2011.
We are also pleased to announce the receipt of a $1.0 million lead gift from the Heffern Family for the opportunity to name the Institute after Gordon and to insure that his legacy of professionalism, integrity, and ethics continues at Ashland University and throughout Northeast Ohio. We will take that legacy to the financial services industry with the results of our work.
The mission of the Gordon E. Heffern Institute for Contemporary Financial Studies of the Dauch College of Business and Economics is to balance the theoretical understanding of the principles of finance with hands-on experience in the field. The intent is to link the classroom with current financial research into the current state of the financial services industry which, in 2008–2009, suffered the worst meltdown experienced in the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
At present, there is no academic research into the behaviors that led to the failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, AIG and Washington Mutual, and Merrill Lynch and Wachovia. That needs to change so that the root causes are understood and a repeat of the collapse does not occur again.
To conduct rigorous academic research into the significant transformation of the financial services industry and other areas of interest within the field.
Our program is designed to address contemporary financial issues by bringing together academicians from various universities and practitioners from a variety of corporations and investment management firms to work with our faculty and students. It is our objective not only to make our curriculum as current and dynamic as possible to address these changes but also to conduct research based on these conversations and to promote that research, both in academic and practical settings, in order to meet these challenges of the rapidly-changing financial world.
The program is founded on the following values and beliefs:
Professional integrity is a critical component of quality research, education, and practice.
Respect, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse needs and interests of others are necessary to achieve mutually beneficial interaction between academicians, practitioners, and students.
Free and open discourse and interaction among academician, practitioners, and students are essential to the origination and evaluation of new ideas and the improvement in financial decision making.
Open governance, broad-based participation, and continuous improvement in quality of services are critical to achieving the mission of the Institute.