The Goldenson Center
The Janet & Mark L. Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research, Department of Mathematics, was established in November 2008 funded by a $1 million donation by Janet and Mark L. Goldenson. The question that is naturally asked is what do two Californians, Janet and Mark Goldenson, have in common with the University of Connecticut and its actuarial science program? The answer goes back almost 30 years ago when Jay Vadiveloo and Mark Goldenson were students and roommates at the University of California, Berkeley. This friendship was sustained over the years and took on an additional dimension when Mark married Janet, Jay’s sister.
The decision to create a Center for Actuarial Research at UConn in November 2008 was thus motivated by both personal friendship as well as our strong belief in supporting university students and faculty in research activities that benefit industry. We believe the Janet & Mark L. Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research at the University of Connecticut is uniquely positioned to achieve this mission. We are both very proud of what the Center has achieved so far and wish all those connected with it all the best in future endeavours.
The concept of a research center to support applied actuarial research projects to serve the needs of industry has been in existence since 2001 when Deloitte agreed to fund the position of Professor & Director for the research center followed by Towers Watson. Over this 14 year period, Jay Vadiveloo has served in the role of Professor & Director of the Goldenson Center
The Mission Statement of the Center has remained unchanged over this period which is to provide high quality applied actuarial research services to serve the needs of the insurance and financial services industry in the region. The strategy to achieve this is by partnering top actuarial students and faculty at UConn with actuarial professionals in industry in applied research projects.
The two main benefits of having a named actuarial research center at the University of Connecticut are the increased visibility for UConn’s actuarial science program and an annual source of funding to support students and faculty participating in Goldenson Center projects.;
For the insurance industry in the region, the benefits of the Goldenson Center at UConn are numerous:
- Access to high-quality applied actuarial research services at cost effective rates.
- Provides academic rigor in actuarial research projects useful to industry.
- Guidance of actuarial professionals in research projects will provide more effective training of students and more productive students entering the labor force.
For UConn’s actuarial science program, the Goldenson Center plays a critical role as well:
- Provides an experiential form of education to UConn actuarial students, hence making them more marketable to the industry.
- Source of funding for students and UConn.
- Will attract high-quality students to UConn’s actuarial science program.
- Will make UConn’s actuarial science program more attractive to the insurance and financial services industry in the region.
- Cutting edge research projects could help the industry better understand and manage the actuarial issues and challenges facing the industry.
- Source of research projects for PhD students and actuarial faculty.
The range of research projects undertaken by the Goldenson Center demonstrates both the practical applicability of these projects as well as the creativity and high standards of professional and academic excellence achieved in these projects.
With a combined student population of over 300 undergraduate and graduate actuarial students, a strong actuarial faculty and continued industry support, there are no limits to the impact the Goldenson Center could have on UConn’s actuarial science program and the insurance and financial services industry in the region.
UConn’s Actuarial Science Program
The University of Connecticut Actuarial Program in the Department of Mathematics began in 1976 with the creation of two new courses – Theory of Interest and Life Contingencies. The department also began offering the professional actuarial exams at that time. From the very first, the program grew rapidly.
In the spring of 1979, the first majors in Mathematics/Actuarial Science were graduated. In 1984 we added a Concentration in Actuarial Science at the Master’s level. As of 2006, we have awarded 6 Doctoral degrees in Mathematics with a thesis topic in Actuarial Science. We have also added a Professional Master’s in Applied Financial Mathematics that serves a dozen students a year. A Center for Actuarial Studies promotes student participation in research projects on real-world problems.
Today, the program has approximately 275 undergraduates, 40 master’s students and 6 Ph.D. students. We estimate that, since its inception, our program has contributed over 500 baccalaureate and 350 master’s graduates to the work force. See more on our Ph.D. alumni and their thesis titles .
The primary goal of our program is to provide students with a sound foundation in actuarial science and to prepare them for the examinations administered by the Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society, with the objective that each student passes at least two exams before graduating.
There is a strong demand for our graduates in the large financial services industry in Connecticut and the surrounding northeast. The quality of our students is recognized by grants from our corporate sponsors. The funds from these grants is used primarily to award undergraduate scholarships and enhances the program in many ways.