Picture Above - The FAH Class of 2013

From left to right: the late Professor Ross Miller, Chris Garcia, Kyle Eastman, Peter Alfieri, Steve Levy, Professor Hany Shawky, George Hoffmann, Ryan Ranado, Chris Fox, Joe Esposito, Mike Biagi, Associate Professor Rita Biswas, Matt Buechele, Kathryn Pendergast, GB Shokunbi, Assistant Professor Yvonne Wang, Associate Professor David Smith, and Sili Zhao. Not pictured: Rory Campbell, Shawn Laljit, Kelechi Nwokocha, and Matt Scala

Giving Back: 100% of the FAH Class of 2013 Donate to the School

On the occasion of the tenth year of the Financial Analysis Concentration, all 17 members of the Financial Analyst Honors Program class of 2013 contributed to a gift to the School of Business, including one grad who handed Associate Professor David Smith an envelope stuffed with $500 cash, half of the stipend from his internship. Dr. Smith said, “This was an extraordinary class.”

Kathryn Pendergast ’13, Examiner at Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, rallied her fellow students. She said, “I had heard through fellow classmates and alumni that it was typical for the graduating class of the FAH program to give a class gift. We spent a few weeks tossing around ideas of gift cards to restaurants and bottles of wine.” A conversation Pendergast had with fellow student Mike Biagi ’13, provided the “light bulb” moment. Biagi said that Dr. Smith had talked to him about how important donations are to the program and opportunities available to its students. Pendergast said, “I then knew exactly what we needed to give to the program, more than just a monetary donation, it was 100% class participation.”

Pendergast said, “I felt like it was my responsibility to give future students exactly what was provided to me, as a sort of pay it forward. We were broke college kids, so the important part was that ALL of us donated, not the amount. We had all hoped it would serve as a motivation for future (and maybe even past) FAH classes to do the same.”

Shawn Laljit ’13, the graduate who offered half his stipend to the cause, said, “The students in our class got along very well; the good communication between us led to a collective class gift. Group work and collaboration are encouraged in the FAH program.” 

Laljit and Pendergast noted that the FAH program went above and beyond expectations. Pendergast said, “I had personally felt it was necessary to give back to a program that had given me everything I could have asked for in a college education.

“The faculty went above and beyond, answering emails and even text messages late into the night, and providing us with opportunities outside the scope of the syllabus, like bus rides to NYC for networking events, and countless finance related speakers and seminars. They were patient, attentive, and dedicated to our success, and relentless in making sure we found jobs post-graduation.

“I had small class sizes with great classmates who brought a level of friendly competition to class every day. We were given a Bloomberg terminal and 24/7 access to the finance office and business building.”

Laljit, a triple major in business, finance and economics who graduated in December will start at JP Morgan in Public Finance Investment Banking this summer. He said, “My opportunities came from the FA program and the investment group. Within the last couple of years graduates have been offered more opportunities with top Wall Street firms. I got my internship from networking with alumni. The best way to give back to the program beyond mentoring was to provide a monetary gift."

The Class of 2013 was not the only FAH class to put a concerted effort into supporting the School of Business. Brian Rath ’08, Equity Analyst at Walthausen and his wife Susan Rath ’08, Financial Analyst at Neuberger Berman, offered a $25 match for each donation by an alumni of the classes of 2011, 2012 and 2013. An anonymous FA graduate matched the class of 2010. Two professors proffered a match for the classes of 2004 through 2009.

Brian Rath is a regular visitor to campus, interacting with students to ensure that they are well-equipped to enter the finance workplace. He chose to do more.  Rath said, “We wanted to find a way to encourage young graduates to establish a tradition of giving. The school and the FAH program have developed into a collegial program. Ultimately everyone should have a strong motivation to see the program succeed. We ought to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”

Laljit hopes that his class’s effort will inspire others. He said, “The FAH camaraderie is growing. I hope that the next class continues to pass it along. Alumni help UAlbany students gain opportunities.”