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Citizens Bank Tri-Cities Foundation, Ltd. Supports UT’s College of Business and its Bloomberg Program

KNOXVILLE, TN — Citizens Bank Tri-Cities Foundation, Ltd. has committed a leadership gift to the Department of Finance at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to maintain leases on the department’s 12 Bloomberg terminal licenses over the next five years. The value of these benefits to the department totals $1 million. The UT College of Business Administration houses the Masters Investment Learning Center, which operates the Bloomberg terminals for faculty and student research. Hundreds of students receive training on the terminals, located in the Masters Investment Learning Center, each year to utilize Bloomberg’s powerful data analytics. The UT College of Business Administration is among very few business schools with this number of Bloomberg terminals.

The Citizens Bank Tri Cities Foundation, Ltd., led by brothers Sam, Chris, Steve, and Joe LaPorte, are longtime contributors to the University of Tennessee.  Previous gifts have supported other areas of the College of Business Administration, the UT College of Law, and UT Athletics, where the LaPorte Stadium is named in recognition of the family’s generosity. The LaPortes are originally from Elizabethton, where Sam and Joe still reside, while Chris and Steve relocated to Houston, Texas, over 30 years ago. Chris is a member of the UT Development Council and the UT Foundation Board of Directors, currently serving as chairman of its Audit and Finance Committee, while Sam recently joined the UT Knoxville College of Law’s Dean’s Circle and the UT Knoxville Alumni Board of Directors.

“Having access to Bloomberg, the premier financial data software used worldwide by investment professionals, is critical for UT’s graduates,” said the LaPorte brothers, all of whom attended UT and two of whom graduated from the College of Business Administration. “Increasing the center’s capabilities greatly expands the college’s ability to educate its students and allows them to earn Bloomberg Essentials Acknowledgements and gain hands-on experience with data analysis, which are becoming increasingly critical for individuals entering the financial investments and services arena.”

The gift from Citizens Bank Tri-Cities Foundation, Ltd. will have an important impact on the UT College of Business Administration, according to Jim Wansley, Clayton Homes Inc. Chair of Excellence in Finance and head of the college’s Department of Finance.

“We are grateful to the LaPorte brothers and their families as well as the Citizens Bank Tri-Cities Foundation, Ltd. for their support of the Masters Investment Learning Center, its mission, and in particular, their investment in expanding the learning opportunities of students here. Because of this gift, we will continue to support 12 Bloomberg terminals, putting UT at the leading edge of investment education.”

Several years ago, Quinita and Chris LaPorte provided funding for the college’s LaPorte Torch Fund, which provides full-time MBA students the opportunity to gain valuable experience managing a real world portfolio of securities. Sam and his wife, Marlo, along with Quinita and Chris, also made a gift to the college’s technology fund, which led to the naming of the Katherine I. LaPorte Classroom in the James A. Haslam II Business Building in honor of their mother.  Sam and Marlo also recently committed a gift to the College of Law, spanning a five year period.

“It is inspiring and fulfilling to see what so many others have done to help further higher education on behalf of UT,” said Joe LaPorte, “and we are proud to be able to contribute our small part to that effort. We look forward to doing more in the future.”

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Meredith Hulette (865-974-7392,

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Posted: 9/15/2011

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