Former Wall Street executive leads EXCEL course

Huntington, Ind.— James O’Donnell, Huntington College’s executive-in-residence, will offer a business course designed specifically for adults in the EXCEL Program at Huntington College. Business in Literature will advance knowledge of the business world through readings of several American novels.

This four-week seminar type class, which runs from 6-10 p.m. on Monday’s from November 18-December 9, will consider a number of literary works that concern business and business people.

“Writers of fiction have often been drawn to business’s promise and its problems,” said O’Donnell. “The class will explore the immense hope business offers people who wish to ‘succeed’ in this world. The class will also look at the ‘darker sides’ of business and the toll that absorption in money or power can take on the soul of a human being.”

“Given the scandals in corporate America that have dominated the news in recent months, this class offers a timely exploration of character and values with application to current circumstances,” said Kathleen O’Donnell, EXCEL Program Director. “Businessmen and women who want to grapple with issues, values and ethics in today’s workplace will be able to do so through vigorous class interaction.”

Jim O'Donnell serves as associate professor of business and executive-in-residence at Huntington College. He brings to HC's business department the savvy earned as senior executive at some of the nation’s largest investment companies. From 1981 to 1985, he served as vice president and national sales manager for the Dreyfus Service Corporation, where he was charged with developing and managing a national sales force. During his final year with Dreyfus, he sold $1.5 billion in new investments. From 1985 to 1989, O’Donnell led the sales and marketing division of the Portfolio Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Chemical Bank. During his tenure, assets under the firm’s management grew from $800 million to $2.5 billion. O’Donnell then moved on to Fidelity Investments, first as the senior vice president for Personal Advisory Services, then as executive vice president and founding director of the High Net Worth Group, a segment marketing arm serving the needs of wealthy individuals. In 1992, he joined the Boston firm of Scudder, Stevens and Clark, again specializing in marketing to high net worth individuals. While at Scudder, he created the Investment Guidance program, yet another means of serving the investment needs of well-to-do individuals.

A marketing program O'Donnell developed was named a "Top New Retail Product Marketing Introduction of 1995" by the Washington, D.C.-based Advisory Board Council on Financial Competition. The marketing plan introduced a service to help individuals manage their assets.

Though highly successful, O’Donnell always cut against the grain in the dog-eat-dog world of high finance. A man of deep convictions and great thoughtfulness, he strove to inject principles of his Christian faith into an industry characterized by cut-throat business practices. A thought-provoking writer, his opinions on ethics and finance have appeared in Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, America and many other publications. At Huntington College, O'Donnell helps students integrate Christian faith and ethics with modern business practices. He has also delivered papers at national and international academic conferences on financial bubbles and business strategy.

O'Donnell is among 15 Christian college faculty who developed curricular models showing linkages between faith, economic development and civil society.

Registration deadline for Business in Literature is November 11. For more information on the EXCEL Program, visit or contact by phone at (260) 359-4162 or by e-mail at

Huntington College is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 60 academic concentrations. US News & World Report ranks Huntington among the Top 10 comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington College is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in Huntington, Indiana.

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