Pace supporters display true holiday spirit on Giving Tuesday

First there was Black Friday. Large retailers co-opted the day after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season. Small mom and pop retailers weren’t about to be left out. They proclaimed the third day of the four-day weekend as Small Business Saturday in the hopes of drawing shoppers to their stores. Online retailers followed suit, electing the following Monday as Cyber Monday to push their products and sales. Even shippers had their own day—Free Shipping Thursday on the final Thursday before Christmas.

The holidays are behind us, but with so much focus on shopping and sales each holiday season, let’s applaud the United Nations Foundation and New York City’s 92nd Street Y for creating Giving Tuesday in 2012. The two groups created Giving Tuesday in response to the overemphasis on consumerism during the holidays. The day has its roots in the Bible verse, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I am enormously proud of the way our Pace family members embraced Giving Tuesday this year. After raising approximately $13,000 in 2013, we set a Giving Tuesday goal of $25,000 for 2014. A generous alumnus had agreed to match contributions up to $25,000, so we hoped to meet our goal and raise $50,000.

Thanks to the spirit and generosity of our Pace friends, alumni, and supporters, we met our goal by the afternoon. By the end of the day, almost 300 donors contributed more than $76,000—providing the University with a total of $101,700 to support things like curriculum development, scholarship programs, and student activities.

Even after the holidays, it is appropriate to give thanks. At Pace we are thankful for everyone who recognizes that the United States cannot succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world unless the great middle class of students—not just students from the most selective colleges in America—receive first-class educations that combine high-quality classroom instruction with real world experience. Pace educates these students every day and they go on to fulfill their promise and potential. We are thankful for the support of our friends and extended Pace family members whose generous gifts allow us to help these hardworking young men and women achieve their dreams.

My warm wishes to you for a happy, healthy, and successful year as we begin 2015.

Connecting with members of our Pace Network

Outside of the New York City area, more Pace alumni reside in Florida, California and China than in any other locations. On our recent trip to Florida, Jennifer Bernstein, VP for Development and Alumni Relations, and I met with alumni who care deeply about Pace and support the University and our students in a variety of ways.

Brian Smith, who graduated from Pace with an MBA in 2000, is a senior managing director of First Republic Bank in Palm Beach and is very enthusiastic about Pace. Brian hosted a lunch for us with about ten wonderful Lubin and Dyson alumni and parents from the Palm Beach area. We had a fascinating discussion. Everyone was interested in hearing more about the Pace Path and curricular initiatives. The lunch was also a good opportunity for alumni to connect. Their interest in learning more about each other and exchanging ideas and information reinforced my belief in the importance of the Pace Network. Staying connected to Pace and other alumni has many benefits throughout life.

That evening we had a delightful dinner with Professor Harvey Stein and his wife Shirley, who graduated from Pace with an MBA in 1981. Harvey taught accounting as a full-time faculty member for 15 years. He was a practicing accountant and lawyer at the same time. Harvey describes his time at Pace as “among his most rewarding.” Harvey retired from Pace in 1984 to build Pencil Pushers United, Inc., one of the first successful computer-driven tax form preparation programs for professionals. In a wonderful example of the power of a Pace MBA, Shirley went back to school at Pace for that degree and served as President of the company. The Steins sold the company in 1998 and retired to Florida. Harvey then established a scholarship for an accounting student at Pace and recently funded $100,000 to name a classroom in Alumni Hall, a new residence hall being built in Pleasantville.

The next morning we had breakfast with John and Carol Anne Stiglmeier and their son Jack. John and Carol Anne are the parents of Fairleigh, a sophomore who is majoring in women’s and gender studies in Dyson. Jack is following his sister to Pace and will start in the fall as a freshman in the new BFA in Acting for Film, Television, Voice-Overs, and Commercials. John and Carol Anne (who has an impressive background in curricular planning for K-12 education) will introduce us to the secondary school acting network in South Florida. They are a terrific example of the increasingly active and involved Pace parents.

Jennifer and I ended our visit with a long and very productive lunch the next day with Peter Sacripanti, a Pace Law School alumnus who is the CEO of McDermott Will & Emery, a large and successful international law firm.

In selected areas like Florida, California, and China, there are significant needs for a senior Pace administrator, dean and/or faculty member to visit every year. When we solidify the relationships of alumni with both the University and with each other, we leverage the full power of our Pace Network.

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.