The Robert T. LeClair Finance Department Seminar Series extends the curriculum by inviting leading scholars to speak with VSB students on leading issues within the finance industry. Past topics have included responsible investing and investment decision-making; the costs and benefits of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for university endowments; and the pitfalls of central clearing in the derivatives markets. 


Seminars are held on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. in Bartley 2010.


Stanislava (Stas) Nikolova
University of Nebraska - Lincoln      
Kim & Jess Cornaggia
Pennsylvania State University
Trouble at Home: Financial Constraints and Human Capital Formation


Stas Nikolova

Stas Nikolova is an Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to joining UNL, she was a Senior Financial Economist in the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In that capacity, she advised the SEC on rules governing the issuance of fixed-income securities, the disclosure and offering process of asset-backed securities, the registration of municipal advisers, the integrity of credit ratings, and the management and accountability of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs).

Her research focuses on various aspects of fixed-income markets, including regulating these markets and investing in them. She is an Associate Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Finance, and Secretary of the Midwest Finance Association.

Kim Cornaggia

Kim Cornaggia is the Louis R. & Virginia A. Benzak Professor of Finance at the Pennsylvania State University. Professor Cornaggia conducts empirical research concerned with predicting, measuring, and resolving financial distress. She has particular interest in the efficacy of credit rating agencies as information intermediaries, the role of ratings in regulatory and contractual requirements, and the real effects of ratings on debt issuers. Related interests include the impact of accounting conservatism on common performance and risk metrics, and the information environment of municipal debt markets.
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. in Finance at Purdue University, and has since enjoyed academic appointments at the 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 corporation 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 Office of Economic Analysis at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, first in 2003-2004 and later in 2007-2008.

Jess Cornaggia

Jess Cornaggia is the Alumni Professor of Finance at the Pennsylvania State University's Smeal College of Business. He conducts empirical research in the areas of corporate finance, financial intermediation, credit ratings, and household finance.
Professor Cornaggia earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is an Associate Editor of Management Science and Journal of Banking and Finance.

2021-2022 seminar schedule is organized by Paul Hanouna and Raisa Velthuis. Please contact either Paul or Raisa for more information.