K-State finance instructor participates in NYSE workshop, rings closing bell


Many teenagers and young adults dream of one day becoming a professional football player or a rock star. Scott Hendrix, instructor of finance, realized a lifelong dream when he rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange last Thursday.
“Right before it was time to ring it, and I was looking over the floor, I realized ‘Wow, this is actually happening,'” Hendrix said. “It’s definitely been a dream of mine for 20 or 30 years now.”
Hendrix was one of 30 high school and college instructors who attended the NYSE Euronext Teachers Workshop, an educational outreach program hosted by the stock exchange that is designed to help instructors gain additional knowledge on various topics involving the history of stock brokerage, capital markets, economics and finance.
“The New York Stock Exchange is really interested in staying involved with and promoting education and giving teachers at high school and college levels the knowledge they need to teach students about how markets interact,” Hendrix said.
The one-week event featured an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily schedule in which participants interacted with various executives and market professionals and heard them speak about the market model of the NYSE.
According to Hendrix, although the floor of the stock exchange is generally closed to the public, the NYSE hosts the teacher’s conference three or four times every summer. Hendrix said this was the 25th year of the program.
“I think it’s really important that teachers keep themselves updated with current events and understand what’s going on in today’s world,” said Connor Navrude, junior in finance. “I think Mr. Hendrix did that really well; I never felt like what I was learning was outdated.”
Navrude, who was in Hendrix’s Principles of Finance class last spring, said Hendrix did an excellent job of weaving in outside, real-world information in addition to teaching the basic required curriculum.
“Hendrix was always pulling stuff up on Yahoo Finance or showing us different videos that helped us better understand what we were doing in class,” he said. “For students, that kind of thing is really helpful. Plus it gives us a break from the books and notes and mixes things up.”
During the week, Hendrix was also able to meet Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE, an experience that Hendrix said he had been looking forward to. Hendrix said interacting with professionals helped him better understand components of the stock exchange such as stock brokerage, marketing, technology and even regulations behind trading.
After a week of learning, the instructors were informed that they would be given an opportunity that few receive in their lifetimes: ringing the closing bell of the NYSE.
It is a tradition as old as the stock exchange itself. At exactly 30 seconds before the markets close every day, the brokers begin clapping. 15 seconds later, the bell ringer starts ringing the bell until is precisely 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
“When I first heard that we would have the chance to ring the bell, I didn’t know how they were going to pick who got to actually do it,” Hendrix said. “My head was going to explode if they said it would be random.”
The morning of the last day of the conference, however, the teachers were given a test over what they had learned over the course of the week. Hendrix said that although it felt a little odd to be the one taking the test for a change, he wasn’t nervous because he studied.
“I actually woke up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘What if it’s some sort of merit-based system?'” Hendrix said, laughing as he recalled his anxiety over the situation. “I ended up just staying up and reading over notes and making sure that I knew everything.”
Sure enough, his hard work paid off; Hendrix ended up having the highest score and was rewarded with the chance to ring the bell, becoming one of the select few K-Staters that had been given this privilege. According to Hendrix, he wasn’t the only K-Stater that had rung the bell recently; Bill Snyder, head coach of the football team, did the same in 2011.
“Always be prepared for any opportunity that might present itself,” Hendrix said. “I had the chance to do something that I’ve dreamed of doing for a long time; hopefully students understand that as they go through life and take advantage of the chance to do something special.”