In May 1996 the Governor of Texas, George W. Bush, dedicated the Center. When it opened for classes in Fall 1996 the Center was the only college campus facility of its kind. Former Dean George W. Gau was the founding director. He had a vision to create a state-of-the-art trading, research and teaching facility. Its goal would be helping the academic and business communities understand the growing flow of financial data, assess its impact on financial markets and enable them to participate in the development of new applications of information technology to finance. Dr. Gau translated his vision for the facility into reality by enlisting the support of numerous corporate sponsors.
The lead sponsor for the initial development of the Center was Electronic Data Systems (EDS). EDS contributed funds to cover a substantial portion of the construction costs, provided personnel to assist in design and secured in-kind support to integrate the widely varying data sources and technologies. An additional forty corporate partners donated equipment and services. Additional funds were donated by Center Trustees, a group of leading investment banking and financial service firms who funded the Center’s annual operations until 2001. Donors gave a total of over $6 million in funding and equipment to the creation of the EDS Financial Trading and Technology Center. It's currently valued in excess of $10 million.
The Center started with the trading room (5 work stations), the classroom (38 work stations) and the technology showcase room. The first major equipment upgrade was completed during the summer of 1999. The Center incorporated the latest technology by upgrading workstations and other equipment in the trading room and classrooms.
In January 2000, Dr. Gau resigned as director, and he appointed Dr. Beverly Hadaway as his successor. The goal of the Center remained unchanged, but new opportunities for achieving it emerged.
After six years of operations, the first major renovation of the facility began. Two of the founders of the AIM Management Group, Gary Crum and Bob Graham, helped to fund the renovation through a generous endowment. Numerous employees of the AIM Management Group also contributed to the endowment.
Plans called for a complete remake of the trading room consistent with the donor’s corporate image. Goals of the project included increasing the number of workstations, expanding the meeting facilities available to the fund managers and providing more storage space. The trading room was redesigned to accommodate six workstations, fitted with four flat screen plasma TVs and equipped with the latest hardware and software. A small conference room, with video conference capabilities, was created in the space formerly known as the technology showcase area. Finally, the focal point of the renovation is a 70-foot curved ticker, proving stock quotes and news headlines to the McCombs Business School community. A ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened the renovated AIM trading and conference rooms on October 10, 2002.
Faculty and students served by the Center enjoy a state-of-the-art facility supported by the most accurate and timely data resources and analytical tools available. Each year the Center hosts numerous visitors and sponsor events focused on local community education. The center, from its inception, has been the model for similar trading and classroom facilities developed on campuses across the country and around the world.