College of Business launches new risk management program

MU joins about 60 other institutions across the U.S. with a risk management program.

The College of Business has launched the new Risk Management and Insurance Program after two years of fundraising and preparation.

Frederick Travis, a recent hire to the college, will head the program as director. Previously, Travis worked as a senior risk management consultant at Smith McGehee Insurance Solutions.

Travis will lead the only course that is currently available in the program: Introduction to Risk Management and Insurance. The course is only open to graduate students this semester with hopes of inviting upperclassmen in the spring.

Students interested in the program must be admitted to the College of Business and have declared an emphasis in finance. Travis said he hopes the program will become its own emphasis area one day with three core courses and a selection of electives.

Travis said the need for risk management has increased since the 2008 recession, especially in the financial industry.

But the supply hasn’t caught up with the demand.

According to the American Risk and Insurance Association, MU’s new program joins the ranks of about 60 programs at four-year institutions in the U.S. Only about 1,000 students in the nation have graduated from these programs with a degree in risk management last year.

“We have the potential to be very big in what is a small pond,” Travis said.

The program was first announced by Joan Gabel, the College of Business dean, during the Davenport Society dinner last year to celebrate the college’s 100th year.

Gabel said risk management and insurance is an area of study with which she is familiar.

Prior to her time at MU, Gabel was the chairwoman of the Department of Risk Management/Insurance at the Florida State University College of Business. Since coming to MU, extending her knowledge of the field to students has been her priority.

“The management of risk has both evolved and yet retained its traditions, much like us at (MU),” Gabel said. “So there can be no better time than during our centennial celebration for the Trulaske College of Business to begin this exciting program.”

The program is funded by more than $1 million in donations from Duncan and Shirley Matteson, Tom and Betty Scott, the Missouri Employers Mutual, Columbia Insurance Group, Shelter Insurance and Lockton Insurance in Kansas City.

Dan French, chairman of the Department of Finance, said the program would not have been possible without the donations.

“Our new risk management initiative is a good example of our partnerships with donors and employers that result in new opportunities for MU students that would not otherwise be available without such private support,” French said.

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