By Aldo Svaldi
Of the Denver Post
DENVER, Colo. (Denver Post)--The University of Colorado Denver Business School on Thursday opened the J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities, calling it a first-of-a-kind program that intertwines commodity finance, public policy and economics, the Denver Post reported.
"There are no programs dealing with the broad range of commodities," said Sueann Ambron, the school's dean.
The center is on the first floor of the school's new business building at 1475 Lawrence St.
A feasibility study the university did found 77 programs specializing in equity trading, five focused on energy trading and isolated labs on niche areas, Ambron said.
"We agreed there was a void there," said Blythe Masters, who oversees more than 600 workers worldwide as head of J.P. Morgan Global Commodities.
J.P. Morgan announced Thursday it would make a $5.5 million gift to the program, which comes on top of an earlier donation of $2.5 million in February from Greenwood Village-based CoBank. The J.P. Morgan donation will fund an endowed chair for a professor to research commodity market issues, as well as provide scholarships.
The investment bank will help craft the curriculum, lend the expertise of its employees and hire graduates, Masters said.
The industry doesn't need just people who know how to trade but workers who understand the interplay between what they are doing with broader topics such as public policy and sustainability, she said.
Ambron gives credit for the original idea for the program to George Solich, president and chief executive of Cordillera Energy Partners and an alumnus of the school.
-Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2900