Learn about

where we started

What started as an educational organization and mock stock portfolio with three founding members has now grown to one of the most prestigious financial organizations in the country with over 50 active NLF Fund Managers


Rogers Family Trading Room Opens


Penn State Investment Association (PSIA) Created


Planning for the NLF Begins


NLF Inception: 43 Investors / $2.3 MM AUM


Jim Cramer visits Penn State and meets with NLF fund managers


5th Anniversary of NLF: 68 Investors / $4.3 MM AUM


NLF Passes 100 Students Placed on Wall St.


NLF Students Appear on Money with Melissa Francis on Fox Business


10th Anniversary of NLF: 77 Investors / $6.9 MM AUM


NLF Students Advance to CFA Investment Research Challenge Regionals (Americas)


NLF Passes 200 Students Placed on Wall St.


15th Anniversary of NLF: 77 Investors / $10.1 MM AUM


NLF Students Advance to CFA Investment Research Challenge Regionals (Americas)


NLF passes 300 Students Placed on Wall St.


First post-Coronavirus pandemic Wall St. Trip


NLF Students Place First in CFA Investment Research Challenge (Pittsburgh)

“Our inspiration was to develop something that was truly unique, something that was differentiated from all the other colleges that existed across the states.”

-Sachin Aggarwal, Founding Member of PSIA and the Nittany Lion Fund, ’04 Fin

The Penn State Investment Association (PSIA) was founded in the fall of 1999 with the intention of providing students with a strong foundation in the functioning of the capital markets. In designing the organization, the primary founders, Sachin Aggrawal, Ali Chaudhry, and Nathan Kline sought to involve students in the research, analysis, and maintenance of a securities portfolio using a hands-on approach that would effectively bridge the gap between classroom concepts and real-world situations.

Moving forward to the Spring 2000 semester, the club existed in a trial phase and assumed the role of a provisional, not yet official, organization. At this point, the club maintained its exclusivity and carried out general meetings accordingly. At first, decisions were primarily made regarding geographic regions, and research chairs reflected these areas as well. However, concentration shifted to sectors more closely reflecting the S&P shortly thereafter. Obtaining the authorization of the University for “official organization” status was of paramount importance during this period and was successfully granted. The founders attribute the ease of acceptance to PSIA’s interactive and realistic qualities, which differentiate it from virtually any other organization.

As interest in the club began to grow, the student leaders began to brainstorm ideas on how to turn the paper portfolio into a real fund with actual money. Although several attempts had been made in the past, this goal did not become a reality until 2004 when a team of students led by Sean Spillman and Jon Wyss assembled a marketing plan and business structure for what would eventually become the Nittany Lion Fund (NLF). The students presented the idea to faculty and convinced Professor J. Randall Woolridge to sign on. Soon after, pitches were made to Penn State alumni, and the NLF received initial investment commitments.

In January 2005, the first trades were made, and the Nittany Lion Fund, LLC was born. The launch of the NLF was the culmination of the efforts of many groups and individuals. These include: the students involved in PSIA, both past, and present, who pushed for the opportunity to invest real capital; the administration of Penn State and the Smeal College of Business, who provided both financial and administrative support for the formation of the Fund; the Fund’s Co-Managers, Board of Directors and Oversight Committee, who agreed to provide the leadership and guidance for the Fund; and last, but certainly not least, its investors, who were willing to invest the capital to make it all happen.

As members of the Penn State Investment Association, the student fund managers had managed a paper stock portfolio for several years prior to the formation of the Nittany Lion Fund. This experience proved valuable in gaining insights into the investment process through the evaluation of stocks and overall portfolio management. However, the formation of the Nittany Lion Fund in January 2005 challenged the student managers because they were suddenly investing real dollars and managing a real portfolio. The accountability for actions increased dramatically for all involved.

Currently, the Nittany Lion Fund and PSIA co-exist. The Nittany Lion Fund is a student-managed investment fund with millions of dollars in investor assets. PSIA is the student organization that assists the Nittany Lion Fund, LLC, and is open for students of all majors and experience levels to join.

Current Board of Directors

J. Randall Woolridge

J. Randall Woolridge is a Professor of Finance and the Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Frank P. Smeal Endowed University Fellow at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Woolridge is also the Director of the Smeal College Trading Room. Dr. Woolridge’s teaching and research interests are in corporate finance and investments, with an emphasis on the valuation of corporate strategic investment and financial decisions. He has published over 35 articles in leading academic and professional journals, including the Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, Strategic Management Journal, and the Harvard Business Review. Dr. Woolridge’s research has been highlighted extensively in the financial press and he has appeared as a guest on CNN’s Money Line, CNBC’s Morning Call, and Business Today.

J. David Rogers

J. David Rogers currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of RPO, LLC. Prior to his time at RPO, Mr. Rogers served as the Founder and Managing Member of JD Capital Management LLC. Prior to founding JD Capital Management LLC, Mr. Rogers worked in the Equities Division at Gold- man, Sachs & Co. for over nineteen years. From 1989 to 1992, Mr. Rogers established and ran Equity Derivatives for Goldman Sachs in Tokyo. Mr. Rogers was named as a Partner of Goldman Sachs in 1992 and was co-head of Global Equity Derivatives from 1991 to 1996. Following his tenure as co-head of Global Equity Derivatives, Mr. Rogers was named Head of Equities Division Trading and Risk Management, a position he held from 1996 to 1998. Mr. Rogers was seconded to the Long Term Capital Management Oversight Committee in 1998, where his role was to manage the recapitalization and unwind of LTCM. For his work on the committee, Mr. Rogers was named 1999 Risk Manager of the year by Risk Magazine. In 2000, Mr. Rogers was named to the Equity Division Operating Committee at Goldman Sachs. Mr. Rogers received his B.S. in Accounting and his M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University.

Charles S. Lipson

Charles S. Lipson has been the General Partner of C.S.L. Associates L.P., an investment partnership founded in 1992. C.S.L. Associates L.P. invests primarily in equities both long and short with an emphasis on smaller capitalization companies. Prior to founding C.S.L. Associates, L.P., Mr. Lipson was Vice President of Institutional Equity Sales at Drexel Burnham Lambert and County Nat West. Before that, Mr. Lipson was a Vice President and Portfolio Manager for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Mr. Lipson holds a B.A. in Economics from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s in Finance from the Wharton School of Finance.

Blake Gall, CFA

Blake Gall is the founder and president of MicroPlusPlus Investment Management, LLC which focuses on microcap stocks. Prior to 2011, Mr. Gall was the Vice Chairman of Quantitative Equities for OFI Institutional Asset Management (“OFII”), the institutional investment arm of Oppenheimer Funds. At OFII (and its predecessor, Trinity Investment Management), he managed quantitatively driven portfolios for clients around the world, including major corporations, governments, endowments, and foundations. Before joining Trinity in 1985, Mr. Gall was Director of Quantitative Research at Prudential Securities in New York. Earlier he was a Small-Cap Equity Analyst at E.F. Hutton, and an A.S.E. and Apparel Analyst at Standard & Poor’s, where he started in 1974. Mr. Gall holds a B.S.E. in Engineering from Princeton University, did his graduate work in macroeconomics, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. He has been active in the CFA program on the Candidate Curriculum Committee and the Council of Examiners (writing questions for the Level III exam). He has also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Pension Plan Investing.

Charles H. Whiteman (Ex-Officio Director)

Charles H. Whiteman is the current Dean of the Smeal College of Business. Before becoming the Dean of the Smeal College of Business, Professor Whiteman was Senior Associate Dean for the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. He also served as the Interim Director for Economic Research at Iowa and holds the Leonard A. Hadley Chair in Leadership. Dean Whiteman is a leading economist who advises the state of Iowa’s Department of Management and has served on dozens of collegiate and university committees. With expertise in Bayesian econometrics, dynamic macroeconomics, macroeconomic forecasting, and time series analysis, Professor Whiteman has conducted research that has been supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation. Professor Whiteman has published dozens of papers and is the author of two books. He has served as Associate Editor of several economics journals, including Econometrica, the Journal of Econometrics, and the International Economic Review. He held numerous faculty chair positions at the University of Iowa and has served as a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of Kansas City, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. Professor Whiteman moved through the teaching ranks at Iowa rising from an Instructor in 1980 to eventually serve as Chair of the Department of Economics from 1997 to 2000. He was Director of the Institute for Economic Research (1990-1997, 2003-2006, 2009-2012); Interim Dean of the Tippie College of Business in 2006; and has held his most recent position as Senior Associate Dean of the college for the past six years. Professor Whiteman has more than 32 years of experience in higher education and business and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Minnesota.

James P. Brandau

James Brandau, who is currently the Chairman of the NLF Board of Directors, is a Managing Director at William Blair. Mr. Brandau and his team manage assets for private business owners, business executives, endowments, foundations, and high-net-worth investors. Mr. Brandau has spent almost 20 years advising clients in the private wealth management space. Before joining William Blair, he was a Managing Director at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. from 2014 to 2022, where he helped expand the Philadelphia practice from $4 billion to $9 billion in assets under management. Earlier in his career, Mr. Brandau worked at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management from 2005 to 2014, serving substantial private business owners and corporate executives. At the time, he and his partners managed more than $1.7 billion in assets for foundations and high net-worth families. Mr. Brandau began his career in 2003 as an Analyst at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Mr. Brandau received a B.S. in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently serves as a Director on the following boards: the Philadelphia Orchestra (investment committee), the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the Penn State Endowment, and the Penn State Smeal College of Business Board of Visitors.

Emily Zheng

Emily Zheng currently works for BetterUp within their Corporate Development & Strategy department after previously working at Brookfield Asset Management in their growth equity arm based in San Francisco. She also previously worked at SoftBank Investment Advisors in San Francisco, covering consumer, internet, and real estate prop tech. Prior to her role at SoftBank, Ms. Zheng worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in their Financial Institutions Group and Private Equity Group in New York. She interned in the Natural Resources and Financial Institutions group during the summers of 2013 and 2014. Ms. Zheng graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Finance and a B.A. in Economics and served as the President of the Nittany Lion Fund.

Joseph Cullen

Joseph Cullen serves as the Chief Investment Officer at Penn State. He joined the University in 2019 and he has more than 30 years of investment experience. In leading the Office of Investment Management, Joe is responsible for managing a team that oversees the University’s financial investments, including working with the Penn State Investment Council in managing the assets held in the Long-Term Investment Pool. Prior to joining Penn State, Mr. Cullen was the Chief Investment Officer at the Montana Board of Investments. Mr. Cullen has also held investment positions at Fidelity Investments, Amherst College, and Lucent Technologies, accumulating over 25 years of experience in the investment industry. He earned his B.A. at Ripon College and his M.B.A. at Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Cullen is a CFA and CAIA charterholder, and a Financial Risk Manager, Certified by the Global Association of Risk Professionals..

Kimberly Cornaggia (Ex-Officio Director)

Kimberly Cornaggia is the Louis R. & Virginia A. Benzak Professor and Chair of the Department of Finance at the Smeal College of Business. Professor Cornaggia conducts empirical research related to corporate finance, credit risk, credit ratings, municipal finance, and student loans. She earned her Bachelor of Science at the University of Nebraska, where she studied actuarial science, economics, insurance, and finance. She earned her Ph.D. at Purdue University and has since enjoyed faculty appointments at Penn State University, College of William and Mary, New York University, American University, and Indiana University. Dr. Cornaggia has taught a wide array of courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels including corporate finance, corporate restructuring, equity valuation, multinational finance, and capital markets. Non-academic experience includes analyzing asset-backed securities markets and the credit ratings industry for the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice.

Jim Regan

Jim Regan has been a Senior Analyst at Surveyor Capital in Boston since 2013. Prior to joining Surveyor Capital, Mr. Regan covered the Natural Resources sector as an Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York. He graduated in 2011 with a B.S. in Finance from The Pennsylvania State University Smeal College of Business and Schreyer Honors College.

Christoph Hinkelmann

Christoph Hinkelmann is a Clinical Associate Professor of Finance at The Pennsylvania State University. Before joining the Smeal College of Business, Dr. Hinkelmann served on the faculty at Wake Forest University, Auburn University, and Texas A&M University. He also spent five years as a vice president and portfolio manager at Allianz Global Investors Capital and Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management working with the firms’ quantitative equity strategies. Prior to his graduate study, Dr. Hinkelmann served in the Division of Monetary Affairs at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Past Chairmen

Arthur Miltenberger

Arthur D. Miltenberger retired in June 1998 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Richard K. Mellon Sons and Treasurer of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. He continued to manage the private equity programs for the same organizations until June of 2003. From 1960 to 1964, he was an officer in the United States Navy, and from 1964-1968 was a staff accountant with Price Waterhouse & Co. Mr. Miltenberger is a Certified Public Accountant. His prior activities include Director of the BBH Funds, Advisory Director of Ashford Capital Partners, L.P., member of the Advisory Committee to the Morganthaler Venture Funds, Trustee of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, a General Partner of Gable Limited. He is also a past member of the Advisory Committee of the Carlyle Venture Fund and the Carlyle Real Estate Fund, The Brentwood Associates Venture Capital Funds, the Aqua Fund, and DAG Venture Funds, and a past Director of Vought Aircraft, The Aerostructures Corporation and a General Partner of the Mellon Family Investment Companies. Mr. Miltenberger served as a member of the Investment Committee of The Pennsylvania State University Endowment from its inception until September, 2011. He is a member of several social clubs and has been involved in several civic organizations. Mr. Miltenberger is the recipient of the inaugural Hirtle, Callaghan & Company Award for Investment Leadership. He is a 1960 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University.

Edward R. Hintz

Edward R. Hintz is Portfolio Manager and President of Hintz, Holman & Robillard (Founder and Principal since 1975). He received a B.S. in finance at Penn State (’59) and an MBA from Harvard in 1963. In 1982, Mr. Hintz was named Alumni Fellow and in 1987 was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus. Mr. Hintz is former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Pennsylvania State University, and served as Grand Destiny chair of the Campaign for Penn State. Edward and Helen Hintz have made several major gifts to the Grand Destiny Campaign, including the naming gift for the Hintz Family Alumni Center and a significant donation toward the new business building. Mr. Hintz also served as Portfolio Manager for Morgens, Waterfall & Co. 1972-1974; Senior Portfolio Manager for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. 1966-1972; and Securities Analyst/ Portfolio Manager for Irwin Management Company 1963-1966.