An $11 million gift from Michael (GSB ’89) and Robin Psaros will energize the newly renamed Psaros Center on Financial Markets and Policy.
The Psaros Center, founded following the 2008 financial crisis by Georgetown University finance professor Reena Aggarwal, facilitates objective, data-backed dialogue that can inform government and economic decision making about critical issues related to financial policy. Psaros, who studied under Aggarwal in the 1980s, supported this vision with an initial gift of $500,000 to establish the center.
Finance is the most popular major at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business (MSB), and this most recent gift will enable the Psaros Center to engage students at a deeper level, Aggarwal said.
“We are going to expand what we are doing with students in terms of having student fellows at the center, research assistants, and these student fellows and research assistants will have the ability to work not only with the faculty associates of the Psaros Center but also with really distinguished board members and visiting distinguished fellows,” Aggarwal said in an interview with The Hoya.
The Psaros Center’s Board of Advisors consists of 15 professionals, ranging from Robert Steers, who leads Georgetown’s Steers Center for Real Estate, to Stacey Cunningham, former president of the New York Stock Exchange. They help shape the Psaros Center’s practice and policy by providing leadership and expertise to students.
Psaros hopes that the gift will benefit the students and school that led to his own success.
“My family is humbled and excited to invest in Georgetown, and in doing so, give back to a country that has provided us with so many opportunities,” Psaros said in the university’s April 11 news release.
Aggarwal said that a lot has changed in the field of finance within the last 10 years, and the Psaros Center needs to explore all of it.
“There are so many issues that policymakers and the markets have to deal with right now that didn’t even exist 10 years ago, like digital assets,” Aggarwal said. “It’s a whole new emerging area, and both policymakers and the private sector are trying to figure it out. What is the future of digital assets? What is blockchain technology? What is the future of crypto assets?”
The donation from Psaros will fund investments in student programming and serve as a resource and asset for the Georgetown community. New opportunities will include the chance for student fellows and research assistants to work on conducting their own research with faculty.
Samantha Krause, director of marketing and communications at the MSB, said the Psaros gift will directly improve the student experience at the Psaros Center through the hiring of a new executive director and a student programming facilitator.
“The Center is focused on increasing events for students, including pulling new faculty leaders for different speaker events,” Krause said in an interview with The Hoya. “There has been a lot of great work and programming in the decade or so the center has already existed. We can expect to see an acceleration of all of the positive contributions. For students, there will be many ways to participate and find support.”
Anthony DeGrado (MSB ’23), a research assistant at the Psaros Center who analyzes trends of growth within emerging markets, focusing on the blended finance evident in public-private partnerships, said there are many existing and upcoming opportunities for students to get involved with research at the Psaros Center.
“The gift is just going to accelerate much of what has already been going on. The faculty have lectures on their research and have many presentations open to all students,” DeGrado said. “In the future, the center is looking to have a broader range of opportunities for students to get involved with, from research positions to special events.”
Aggarwal said that the resources present at the Psaros Center are crucial to understanding the current financial market.
“COVID has made financial inclusion and inequity an even bigger issue, so the Center is really uniquely positioned to address these new emerging issues that both policymakers and the broader practitioner community is facing,” Aggarwal said. “This is a pivotal moment, as there is so much going on in the world of finance and policy that Georgetown must step up and take on this role.”