Tuesday March 21, 2006

March Madness

Many of the hoops fans have left town, but "March Madness" continues for the University of Dayton as it gears up to welcome hundreds of writers and finance students from across the nation.

Many of the hoops fans have left town, but "March Madness" continues for the University of Dayton as it gears up to welcome hundreds of writers and finance students from across the nation.

Three high-profile events at UD this month are drawing significant national attention and could have an estimated $1.8 million economic impact on the region, according to Jacquelyn Powell, president and chief executive officer of the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

And that's a conservative estimate based on hotel bookings, restaurant expenditures, local travel expenses and ticket/registration prices.

Last week, the University of Dayton hosted the NCAA opening round game and the first two sold-out rounds of the tournament. More than 500 media, including ESPN, CBS, The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Sports Illustrated and the Sporting News, covered the games.

This week, more than 350 writers from 44 states and Canadian provinces are coming to town for the sold-out March 23-25 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry. The writers will get a sneak preview of the first documentary ever produced about the life of Dayton native Erma Bombeck. Produced by ThinkTV and narrated by Phil Donahue, "Erma Bombeck: A Legacy of Laughter" will be distributed nationally by American Public Television to more than 270 public television stations - more than 90 percent of the nation's television market -- following the workshop.

Next week, more than 1,200 participants, including finance students and professors from universities across the globe and regional business professionals, will travel to Dayton for what's believed to be the largest student investment strategy forum. RISE VI, which runs March 30-April 1, is sponsored by the University of Dayton with a growing list of the most prestigious names in finance -- the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, Chicago Board of Trade, Singapore Exchange, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Deutsche Asset Management, Deutsche Börse Group and CFA Institute.

This year's forum features William Poole, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Jim Rogers, an adventure capitalist and author who retired at the age of 37 and embarked on a two-year trip around the world on his motorcycle to learn about investment markets in developing countries; and a number of other nationally recognized investment strategists. The event regularly attracts the attention of such national media as Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg News, Reuters, the Associated Press and Dow Jones.

Fashioned after Switzerland's World Economic Forum, RISE (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) is not a typical academic forum. No papers are delivered. Rather, presenters sit informally on a stage, and students ask them questions about everything from the outlook for the stock market to the likelihood of social security reform. Bob Froehlich, a regular on CNBC's "Squawk Box," personally invites many of the participants and moderates the discussions. The University of Dayton graduate chairs the investor strategy committee at Deutsche Asset Management and is vice chair of DWS Scudder.

These events help bolster Dayton's image and showcase its affordability, accessibility and community spirit to people who may be making their first visit, according to Powell.

"Dayton offers Midwestern charm and hospitality, big-city amenities and the legacy and spirit of innovation," she said. "Each of these events provides opportunities for national and international media coverage and demonstrates Dayton's positive and progressive character. Whether you're a basketball fan, a financial analyst or a creative writer, Dayton welcomes and fosters your interests."

Contact Bev Rose, director of marketing and communications for the Dayton/Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (937) 226-8226. For interviews about the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, contact Tim Bete, workshop director, at (937) 229-4960. For interviews about RISE VI, contact David Sauer, executive director, at (937) 229-2757 or (937) 229-3384.