Pace alumni stay connected

The members of the Pace Network of successful thinking professionals care a great deal about Pace University. They’ve got great ideas how we can enhance the University experience for today’s students. Many are also interested supporting students directly—through mentoring, referrals, scholarships, and other creative opportunities. We try and get out and meet with alumni as often as possible.

Recently Jennifer Bernstein, VP for Development and Alumni Relations, and I connected with alumni, friends, and parents of current students in Florida. As always, I was struck by the important role that the University played in the lives of so many of them. Everyone was delighted when I told them how we are modernizing our New York City and Pleasantville locations. They were also very enthusiastic about the “Pace Path” because it is the modern manifestation of Pace’s historic commitment to graduate students who are ready to function as real professionals. 

I met with Don Boudreau during the trip. Don graduated from Pace with a BBA in Marketing in 1970. He rose to become Vice Chairman of JP Morgan Chase and served as a University Trustee for years. Don and his family established two endowed scholarships at Pace. He is now Trustee Emeritus, and remains deeply interested in the future of Pace. In fact, following our conversation in Florida, Don informed me that he intends to give $250,000 to the Campaign for Pleasantville. In recognition of this extraordinary generosity, we will dedicate the Susan and Donald Boudreau Student Lounge in our newly renovated Kessel Student Center in Pleasantville. Don’s life and career is a wonderful example to our students, and I am so pleased that his name will have such a prominent place on our campus for years to come.  

I also saw friends of Pace, Ellen Kramer and her husband Arthur Keyser. Both of them are active in the theater in Sarasota and elsewhere. Ellen studied theatrical lighting design in the early 80s with Chris Thomas, former Chair and Professor of Performing Arts. She established a scholarship for lighting and theatrical design students in his memory. Arthur was a successful Philadelphia lawyer and, when they retired to Florida, he began a new career as a serious playwright at the age of 80. Arthur’s work continues to be published and performed in Florida and elsewhere.

I am very proud that so many Pace students, alumni, and friends compete successfully with the best students from the best schools in America and rise to the highest levels within their professions. Don and Ellen are just two examples from our vast Pace Network who not only achieved their dreams, but who help current students achieve their dreams as well. 

More on this trip in my next post.

Reunions

Recently I attended two reunions. They were reunions of two very different groups, but both events illustrated the bonds that are often formed around hard work, shared experiences, and friendship.

The first reunion was a 50th anniversary gathering of the U.S. Supreme Court law clerks from the 1963 Term. During the 1963 Term, the Supreme Court decided the New York Times libel case (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan), the reapportionment cases (Reynolds v. Sims), and a host of other important cases. It was, for many of us, the first time we had seen each other in 50 years.

As a group, these men (in those days the clerks were virtually all men) had accomplished a great deal. About half of them were in the academy—two university presidents (Brigham Young and Pace), one provost (University of Virginia), tenured faculty members at Harvard, Yale, the University of Virginia, Berkeley, Columbia, Ohio State, and SUNY Buffalo Law Schools. Also among the group was a state Supreme Court justice, a real estate developer, and a passel of successful lawyers. I had the pleasure of recruiting one former clerk’s son for the faculty at Pace Law School.

What stood out in the experience, however, was the human side of our gathering. It was astonishing how quickly old bonds and shared experiences re-established themselves. It was an incredibly warm experience. Each of us was very proud of what the others had accomplished. People talked candidly about their failures as well as successes.

My second reunion was the annual dinner of the Pace Athletics Hall of Fame.  Four alumni became the 47th, 48th, 49th, and 50th inductees in the Hall of Fame. Inducting the Hall’s 50th member was a particularly nice touch in the 50th year of the Pleasantville campus. The new Hall of Famers had distinguished themselves in men’s football, baseball, lacrosse, and in women’s volleyball. There was also a team award for the 1984-85 women’s basketball team, and Joseph Pastore, PhD, received the Peter X. Finnerty Leadership Award, which was presented by Lubin alumni Brian Finnerty’72, Pete Finnerty’s son.

The inductees were accompanied at the dinner by family, teammates, and coaches who had shared their extraordinary achievements on the court and in the field. It was obvious from the cheering that those teammates shared in full measure pride for their teammate who received the award.

Like the clerks’ reunion, what stood out in the evening was the human side of the event. Many of the teammates had not seen each other since graduation. Again, it was astonishing how quickly old bonds and shared experiences re-established themselves. Warmth, laughter, and good feelings permeated the room; as did the pride we all shared in the accomplishments of our alumni. There is something about reunions—the coming together of those who have shared important experiences—that reaches deep into the human need for connection. They are very special events.

Protecting a valuable college experience

Many students have benefited from internship programs in the past. Yet recent court cases and reaction to these cases may mean future students may find it difficult to combine their classroom educations with real-world professional experiences.

As I recently wrote in an op-ed for The Hill, a newspaper written for and about the U.S. Congress, recent policies and actions intended to address the problem with internships both fail to address the problem and could dramatically limit the availability of this extremely valuable learning experience in the future. You can read my op-ed here — http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/203713-to-protect-students-protect-internships

Pace students win big at Global Asset Management Education Forum

If you’re looking for an education with a focus on real-world experiences, it doesn’t get any more real world than Pace’s Finance 357 class and our Student-Managed Portfolio.

Students from Finance 357 were responsible for the portfolio’s 39 percent gain in 2013. The gain was not only a great return on investment, but paid off with a first place in the “Undergraduate Growth” category at the recent Global Asset Management Education Forum. Quinnipiac University and NASDQ-OXM sponsored the event, which attracted 140 schools from more than 40 different states.

This is an incredible accomplishment and once again demonstrates that Pace students can win in competition with the best students from the nation’s top universities. Our Student-Managed Portfolio’s performance over the last five years has held its own against some Wall Street firms too. Totally managed by students, the equity portfolio was up 26 percent in 2009, up 27 percent in 2010, down 3 percent in 2011, up almost 8 percent in 2012, and up 39 percent in 2013.

Each semester students from Finance 357 inherit the portfolio from the previous semester’s class. Unlike classes that learn by managing “pretend” portfolios, Finance 357 students invest real money. Alfred Goldstein, a generous supporter of Pace University, advanced the seed money for the portfolio. Students decide on the characteristics of the stocks they would like in the portfolio and then vote on which stocks to buy or sell. They don’t need their professor or anyone else associated with the University to approve their decision. In fact, Professor Ron Filante doesn’t even voice an opinion during class discussions to ensure the portfolio remains 100 percent student managed.

Pace University excels at giving students an education that combines excellent classroom instruction with real world experiences. Congratulations to the class of Finance 357 for excelling in the very real, competitive, risky, and roller coaster investment world.