Joan and Gavin Rosenbaum Solotar

Alumni Profile

Joan and Gavin SolotarGavin Solotar and Joan Rosenbaum started their relationship when they started college. They met in Fulton Hall, became friends by mid-September of their freshman year and were dating by November. Both ended up in the School of Business.

Joan originally considered a degree in Political Science, but changed her mind after taking a couple of business classes. She chose the business concentration Management Information Systems (called Information Technology Management today) because it was analytical and challenging. 

Gavin was immediately drawn to accounting, “My parents allowed three options: doctor, attorney or accountant.” The J.D. from New York University School of Law would come later, netting him two of the three acceptable professions. 

According to Joan, getting an “A” was never enough for Gavin. He strove for the highest grade in the class. She said, “Gavin was the top student in our class. He buried himself in a corner of the library to study. Sometimes, he let me join him.” 

The pair spent time studying, but also left the library basement for the campus center and the Rathskeller. On one memorable visit to the Rat, Joan and Gavin sat at the bar with Joe Strummer of The Clash, who was passing through Albany on tour. But most of their college social life the couple spent time with friends hanging out by the fountain and eating chicken wings at the Long Branch. 

While Gavin the accountant was hired from an on-campus interview, Joan hit the pavement, often with Gavin in tow. She said, “I blanketed Wall Street with my resume and went on dozens of interviews.” It paid off, first with a job as a research assistant in equity research for First Boston, which led to the financial services team at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Managing Director at CSFB, and Managing Director and Head of Equity Research at Bank of America. 

Joan is a top ranked research analyst. From 1995 to 2002, she was ranked in the Brokers and Asset Management category by Institutional Investor All-America Research Team. Like Gavin, Joan attended New York University. She earned an MBA in finance from the Stern School of Business while working fulltime. 

Since 2007, Joan has been a member of the leadership at Blackstone and is a Senior Managing Director and Head of External Relations and Strategy. Along with other responsibilities she manages Blackstone’s relationships with its public investors, industry analysts and the general investment community. She also guides the firm on analyzing strategic development opportunities. 

Gavin has had remarkable work success as well. Upon graduation, he worked in the entrepreneurial services group of Ernst & Whinney, the precursor to Ernst & Young. He said, “There was a long line of UA grads there ahead of me, including Steve Zelin ’84 and Alan Mantel ’85. The great minds of accounting.” 

After earning his law degree, Gavin joined Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He stayed there for 20 years, making partner and working on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and securities law matters. Last year he joined Greenhill, a leading independent investment bank, as General Counsel and Managing Director. 

The couple married in 1988. They agree that their biggest accomplishment is raising their children, Lindsay, a freshman at Amherst College and Max, a high school freshman. 

Joan is Chairman of the Board of Directors of both the East Harlem Tutorial Program and the East Harlem Scholars Academy. She regularly mentors business students at UAlbany. Gavin is a founding member of the Greater NY, a public-private partnership created under the auspices of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York during the financial crisis to link business leaders with non-for-profit organizations struggling with fewer donations and greater demands for their services. He also co-chairs the annual fund of the Dalton School. 

Both Solotars grew up in Queens, Joan in Bayside and Gavin in Flushing. They currently live in Manhattan where Gavin enjoys running, overall fitness and is a long-suffering Mets and Jets fan. Joan ran her first New York City Marathon in 2011. She likes to cook and read and just started playing guitar. This spring, the University at Albany Alumni Association will honor Joan with the Excellence in Business Award.

The Solotars’ Advice to the Class of 2013
Sometimes students coming out of SUNY think they are less prepared than their Ivy League colleagues, but I found that my SUNY education prepared me as well as my peers. – Joan Solotar
Work hard and have long and short term goals. Success is defined not by how you deal with your victories but on how you deal with the more difficult times. – Gavin Solotar