Before the late Buffalo Bill Center of the West Trustee Willis McDonald IV (1926–2015) retired to Wyoming in 1996, he was an attorney with the prestigious New York law firm of White & Case, specializing in public and private finance. With a posthumous gift, McDonald’s detailed records of some 200 transactions from around the globe—completed from 1953 to 1996—are now in the hands of the University of Wyoming College of Business.
“Private transaction historical data is not something traditionally available to the public, and UW is fortunate to have it,” noted UW College of Business Dean Sanjay Putrevu. “This collection brings tremendous value to the College of Business and UW. I know that not only business students, but also those studying applied economics, law, and public policy, would find the collection very useful.”
According to Putrevu, finance professors already have big plans for the collection, including the use of the data in undergraduate and graduate investment classes. These transactions can function as a source of background information in a number of courses to review the differences in transactions over time, as private transaction laws have changed significantly. The material will also be accessible to finance professors and graduate students, prompting a number of exclusive research projects at UW.
Husband and wife trustees from Jackson, Wyoming—Dick Scarlett for the University of Wyoming and Maggie Scarlett for the Buffalo Bill Center of the West—were instrumental in facilitating the gift. A banker himself, Mr. Scarlett immediately recognized the value of these documents for the students and scholars in the College of Business. Scarlett collaborated with the Center’s Board Chairman, Barron Collier II, to ensure the records were preserved for future use and scholarship. The McDonald papers had been stored at the Center’s McCracken Research Library awaiting the completion of the transaction.
Mrs. Scarlett and McDonald were fellow trustees for the Center of the West. Trustee Wallace Johnson—another fellow trustee, the successor to McDonald as the Center’s General Counsel, and personal representative for McDonald—actually drove the collection to Laramie.
“While UW benefits immensely from the time and energy expended by its close friends and benefactors,” Putrevu adds, “the intention is that these volumes will become publicly available upon completion of the digitization process. In addition to being accessible online, the original collection might eventually find a home in one of the campus libraries or in the American Heritage Center, as many of the transactions detailed are of historical significance.”
Read more about this extraordinary gift on the UW website.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page. #100YearsMore