Eugene Brigham sits in a chair holding a copy of his textbook Fundamentals of Financial Management
Eugene Brigham with his textbook, "Fundamentals of Financial Management." Photo by Aaron Daye/UF Advancement.

Warrington Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Department named in honor of retired professor Eugene F. Brigham

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida Warrington College of Business proudly announces the naming of its Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Department in recognition of Eugene F. Brigham for his extraordinary philanthropy and lifetime of professional achievement in the world of finance education.

With approval from the UF Board of Trustees, the department is now officially the Eugene F. Brigham Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Department.

Brigham, who began his career at the University of Florida as a finance professor in 1971, has committed $20 million to the Warrington College of Business to enhance finance undergraduates’ experience. It is the fourth largest gift the Warrington College of Business has received and just one of Brigham’s numerous investments in the college.

As a finance professor at Warrington for more than 30 years and author of an all-time, best-selling finance textbook, Financial Management and Fundamentals of Financial Management, Brigham recognizes the importance of investing. UF is close to breaking into the top 5 public universities, and Brigham knew that an investment in Warrington would help produce this result.

“I want to see our students getting hired by top companies and then moving up to the top levels in those companies,” Brigham said. “For this to happen, Florida must be ranked as a top school to attract recruiters from top companies, and our students must get an educational background equal to or better than they could get at any other school in the country. The plans the Dean and the Finance Faculty have developed can help get this job done, and my donation should help make this goal a reality.” 

Those plans include modifications to the undergraduate student curriculum, enhanced professional development, and better internships and other external learning opportunities. These changes should increase the competitiveness of Warrington’s finance students and put them on a par with the best universities in the world.

“Dr. Brigham’s gift is an important catalyst in a major enhancing of our undergraduate finance program to better prepare our students to compete with the best finance programs,” said Andy Naranjo, Chair of the Eugene F. Brigham Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate Department and the John B. Hall Professor of Finance. “Our finance majors will all go through a rigorous, foundational curriculum that prepares them for the best jobs and a lifelong foundation for additional learning. This fundamental enhancement in our curriculum, along with the Exploring Financial Economics program that they will go through, will provide essential career preparation that will lead to more successful placements.”

The original Exploring Financial Economics program was born out of the need to prepare students earlier during their time in college for a full-time career. This program will show undergraduate students just how broad and fundamental the field of finance is, and how many different opportunities there are in the industry.

“Since most finance students take an internship in their junior summer and then take a full-time position with the firms they intern, Exploring Financial Economics grew out of the need for students to learn about different finance roles early in their college career,” said Kelly Herring, William R. Hough Master of Science in Finance program director. “Students need to start learning about different finance roles in their freshman year, get acquainted with intern-hiring firms and prepare to compete for internships during their sophomore and junior years, and take an internship after their third year with a firm they are likely to return full-time upon graduation.”

With Brigham’s gift to the college, the Exploring Financial Economics program can be expanded to serve more students with personalized career assistance. Also, an additional staff member will be hired to develop connections with recruiters in various finance sectors.

“For the past four years, Exploring Financial Economics has mostly directed students with an interest in investment banking, asset management, and consulting,” Herring said. “With an additional Exploring Financial Economics facilitator provided by Dr. Brigham’s gift, we will be able to build out opportunities for students leaning towards corporate finance, commercial banking, and real estate finance, among others, while serving a much larger set of undergraduate finance students.”

Students in Warrington’s finance department are already well on their way to being successful in their future careers thanks to their academic and early career preparation, with 95 percent of Master of Science in Finance students having received a full-time job offer in highly-regarded portions with top industry firms at graduation. Brigham’s gift should push those numbers higher as time goes on.

In addition to his role as a finance faculty member at the Warrington College of Business, Brigham is the founding director of the UF Public Utility Research Center. In addition, he served as president of the Financial Management Association, and he wrote more than 40 journal articles on the cost of capital, capital structure, and other aspects of financial management. The 10 textbooks on managerial finance and managerial economics that he authored or co-authored are used in more than 1,000 universities in the United States and they have been translated into 11 languages worldwide.

“Gene Brigham has made a tremendous impact on Warrington throughout his entire career,” said Dean Emeritus John Kraft. “His teaching, profound academic insights, and continued investment in our programs have helped make the college a powerhouse in the world of finance education. We’re truly honored to have our finance department bear his name.”