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UW College of Business Receives Gift of Private Equity Finance Transactions

January 21, 2016

Thanks to the good work and attentiveness of University of Wyoming trustee and College of Business distinguished alumnus Dick Scarlett and his wife, Maggie, from Jackson, the college has received, as a gift, the record of 200 private equity transactions compiled over 50 years by a recently deceased New York lawyer who lived in Cody.

These records belonged to the late Willis McDonald IV, who died late last year at his home in Cody, though much of his life was spent in New York City working for the prestigious law firm of White & Case and specializing in public and private finance. The collection contains detailed records of transactions from around the globe completed from 1953-1996.

Maggie Scarlett and Willis McDonald served together as trustees at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. Wallace Johnson, personal representative for Willis, also is a trustee at that center and serves as its general counsel.

Dick Scarlett immediately recognized the value of these documents for the students and scholars in the College of Business and ensured that they were preserved for future use and scholarship by facilitating this gift to the college. He bridged the gap of learning and education between these two Wyoming institutions.

The board chairman of the Buffalo Bill Center for the West, Barron Collier II, made the gift possible by preserving the records until such time as the university and other parties were able to complete the transaction.

“This is a great example of how all of us in Wyoming can work together for the benefit of future generations,” Maggie Scarlett says. “I certainly appreciate the commitment to that goal of Barron and the hard work of Professor Larry Weatherford and our friend, Wally Johnson, to make this happen.”

UW College of Business Dean Sanjay Putrevu says the “Willis McDonald IV Collection of Private Equity Finance Transactions, courtesy of Baron Collier II” is now temporarily housed at the UW College of Business. Steps are being taken to digitize the entire collection to preserve its value for research purposes.

Private transaction historical data is not something traditionally available to the public, and UW is fortunate to have it, Putrevu says.

“This collection brings tremendous value to the College of Business and UW. I know that not only business students, but also those studying applied economics, law and public policy would find the collection very useful,” he says.

Finance professors already have big plans for the collection, including the use of the data in undergraduate and graduate investment classes. These transactions can function as a source of background information in a number of courses to review the differences in transactions over time, as private transaction laws have changed significantly.

In addition to its use in undergraduate education, the material will be accessible to finance professors and graduate students, which should prompt a number of exclusive research projects at UW. These projects will range from comparisons of disclosure to models involving private versus public placements.

While UW benefits immensely from the time and energy expended by its close friends and benefactors, Putrevu says, the intention is that these volumes will become publicly available upon completion of the digitization process. In addition to being accessible online, the original collection might eventually find a home in one of the campus libraries or in the American Heritage Center, as many of the transactions detailed are of historical significance.

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