UAlbany Friendships Last Forever

William Bott ’01, Stephen Stabile ‘01 and Justin Kastan ’00

The boy was four years old. His father was in prison and his mother was addicted to drugs. Almost every morning he crossed the street to spend time with his neighbors, business students Stephen Stabile ‘01 and William Bott ’01, at their pseudo-fraternity-house in Pine Hills. Sometimes he would show up with a note, “Can you watch Jamel today?” The 20-year-olds fed him, read to him, taught him how to write and took him to school. 

This experience brought friends Stabile and Bott even closer and showed Stabile his friend’s kindness, empathy and generosity. After graduation, both men were drawn to Wall Street, Stabile to wealth management and Bott to trading on the NY Stock Exchange. They shared an apartment in Hoboken with another roommate and Business School alumnus, Justin Kastan ’00, traveled together and shared summer homes. Bott passed away in 2012 at age 33. He had heart complications after playing basketball.

Stabile said, “Bill was the hardest working person I knew – he made you want to work harder, and set the standard for all of us. He was boisterous, highly intelligent and a natural leader. He was my best friend.”

The evening before Bott passed away, they spoke in depth about their life goals for the first time in their long friendship. Stabile said, “If everyone had an equal start in life, we would have different leaders and outcomes,” noting that Bott, “had not been dealt an easy hand, but met adversity with perseverance, and became extremely successful. After our discussion, I knew what Bill wanted to accomplish. Unfortunately, his life mission was not fulfilled.”

When it came time to honor his friend, Stabile shied away from ideas to give to a heart association or another medical charity, saying, “It’s what took him, it’s not what made or defined him.” Instead, he created the William Bott ’01 Memorial Scholarship for a student with Bott’s background and work ethic. In addition to the monetary award, Stabile has offered to mentor the recipient.

Stabile created a School of Business scholarship to “provide opportunity and inspire a student to do something substantive and impactful in this world. Bill and I can still have a positive effect on a student’s life, despite Bill not being here physically with us to do so himself.” Stabile choose to fulfill Bill’s mission here because, “UAlbany is a gem of an institution. There are super-talented people at the school, all with different starting points.”

He noted, “I am in a position to be able to do this. I’d rather sacrifice a vacation or a bigger apartment to make an impact on someone’s life. This little business school got us where we are. Those of us who give in our 30s and 40s are planting seeds for our children.”

Stephen Stabile was recently named to the University at Albany School of Business Dean’s Advisory Board. He is Senior Vice President of wealth management and Co-Founder of the Hirsch Stabile Group at Merrill Lynch, and regularly mentors students and colleagues. William Bott was a specialist at Barclays, overseeing designated market making for the firm.