Photo Gallery - NYSE Visit
NEW YORK - Head coach James Franklin and seniors Brad Bars, Sam Ficken and Devin Pryor received the thrill of a lifetime on Friday morning when they participated in the ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Ficken, who interned with Merrill Lynch during the summer, officially opened the trading for the day by ringing the bell for 10 seconds at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. The opening of the stock exchange aired live on 35 media outlets and will be on approximately 225 times during the course of the day.
"I was a little bit nervous, not going to lie," Ficken joked. "It was a really cool experience for us."
Bars (Finance) graduated with a 3.67 GPA; Pryor (Energy Business & Finance) graduated with a 3.20 GPA and Ficken (Finance) has a 3.59 GPA. All three were thrilled with the opportunity to visit Wall Street inside the world's largest stock exchange.
"It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to come to the New York Stock Exchange and ring the bell," Bars said. "Ficken did a great job up there and got it exactly on point. It's really cool to see the atmosphere."
"It was awesome," Pryor said. "How many people can say they did that? I'm so grateful."
Just as Ficken finished ringing the bell for 10 seconds, a "We Are" chant broke out from traders on the floor. A host of Penn State alums and football letterman have direct ties to financial firms working in the stock exchange. Andrew and Mike Guman and Pete Massaro are among the long list of former Nittany Lions with experience on Wall Street. The Penn State group met letterman Tony Matesic (1991), who works for Barclays, on the floor during Friday's visit.
"Penn Staters are everywhere. I met a letterman while we were here that works on the floor," Ficken said. "I knew we are going to have some here. It was awesome to be up there for the opening bell."
Ficken has aspirations of working on Wall Street when his football playing days are over.
"The letterman and alumni who work here afforded me the opportunity to work at Merrill Lynch," Ficken said. "It's an incredible network, and it's something that I'm looking to join whenever football ends. I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity and the path they have created."
The education provided by Penn State put finance majors, like Ficken, in a position to be successful in the world's financial capital. The power of the degree coupled with the network of Nittany Lion football letterman with experience working on Wall Street puts student-athletes like Ficken in fantastic opportunities for success.
"It's a top of the line education," Ficken said. "The value of the degree is seen by everyone. I've seen it firsthand, and I couldn't be more thankful for that."
The Nittany Lions received commemorative medallions for opening the New York Stock Exchange. The average daily trading value was approximately $169 billion during 2013.
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