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USD Beacom School of Business Celebrates Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New Ellis Finance & Analytics Lab

Four USD leaders in front of the Ellis Finance & Analytics Lab Dean Venky Venkatachalam of the Beacom School of Business, Gary Ellis, Sue Ellis, USD President Sheila K. Gestring and USD Foundation President Steve Brown (from left to right) at the lab's ribbon-cutting ceremony.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business celebrated the opening of the new Ellis Finance & Analytics Lab with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. The state-of-the-art new lab, which was made possible by a generous donation from the Ellis family, will provide a transformational learning experience for students and faculty.

The Ellis Finance & Analytics Lab is equipped with 12 Bloomberg Terminals, 20 laptop computers and cutting-edge analytics software platforms that will bring real-world experience into the classroom. Students and faculty will now have access to learn and conduct research on the same platform used by the world’s leading banks, corporations and government agencies.

Preparing students to have a high-level of data and analytics literacy so they can thrive in an increasingly data-driven world is a core priority for Dean Venky Venkatachalam of the Beacom School of Business. He emphasized that this lab will provide countless opportunities for faculty and students in all disciplines to come together for learning and research purposes.

“We work closely with leading employers in the region and across the country and they expect students to be highly literate in data and analytics skills,” said Venkatachalam. “By providing our students with this learning experience and teaching them the right skills, we give our students a competitive advantage and it allows us to continue to attract top employers to Beacom to recruit our students.”

The lab, which officially opened with the start of classes on Aug. 26, will be available for business classes, student organizations, faculty research and interdisciplinary research across campus. Students and faculty have already begun mastering the Bloomberg Market Concepts platform and some have achieved or are working toward Bloomberg Certification. Demonstrations of the new technology during the ribbon-cutting were showcased by:

  • Klaus Beckmann, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance
  • Sophia Lima, senior accounting and finance major, president of student organization Coyote Capital Management
  • Nicholas Page, graduate Master of Professional Accountancy student, president of student organization Financial Management Association

“The Ellis family gift affirms USD’s reputation as the leader of business education in South Dakota,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “Our students can compete with the best of the best, and will know how to use the world’s most sophisticated business and finance technology even before entering their first job. This gift is transformational for USD and will lead to graduates who will change our state and world.”

USD alumnus Gary Ellis and his wife Sue were in attendance for the event. “The lab turned out better than Sue and I imagined,” said Gary Ellis. “These resources will allow the students of USD to be even more successful in their careers and we are honored to be able to help with that.” 


USD's Beacom School of Business was established in 1927 and has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1949. The leading business school in the region, Beacom’s programs are consistently ranked among the top business schools in the nation by Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report and others for its high-quality learning experience, student success, affordability, and high-caliber of faculty and students. Whether a student chooses face-to-face or online courses, Beacom’s programs emphasize real-world experience through professional organizations, quality internships and capstone projects.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News