When class of 1947 alumnus William Newman made a $5 million gift to his alma mater in 1993, its impact was immediate and seismic. At the time, it was the second-largest gift ever received by The City University of New York (CUNY), surpassed only by the 1965 bequest from the College’s namesake, Bernard M. Baruch.
When it comes to harmonizing professional and philanthropic pursuits, entrepreneur Jie Hayes (MBA ’99) hits all the right notes. The Zicklin alumna is the founder and portfolio manager of Songbird Capital, a boutique investment advisory firm based in Princeton, NJ. She is also the donor behind the Songbird Capital Scholarship Program at Baruch. Both the company and the scholarship program owe their names to the Fleetwood Mac tune “Songbird,” from the group’s mega-album Rumours, which she was learning to play on the guitar at the same time she was establishing her firm. “The song represents the confluence of my passions, from entrepreneurship, to music, to doing the right thing for my clients, my family, and the larger community,” she explains.
Before entering Baruch College, Mark Smiley had taken only one science class in his life. A little more than 15 years later, he is an emergency physician in North Carolina, saving lives on a regular basis.
The scene: New York City, 1996. Acting legend and Manhattan native Robert De Niro and his producing partner, Jane Rosenthal, whose dream of nurturing the local film community led them to found the Tribeca Film Center several years prior, need a finance whiz with a commercial real estate background for their growing venture. Enter Zicklin School grad Sandy O’Hearen (’91), who takes what proves to be a life-changing phone call from a job recruiter with an offer she can’t refuse.
Luxury cruises were an alien concept to Bronx-born Harry Sommer (’88). “They just weren’t a big deal in New York City,” he recalls, “especially in the late eighties.” Today that has all changed, for the industry and for the alumnus. Mr. Sommer was recently appointed president international at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, a position in … Continue reading All Aboard with Cruise Industry Leader Harry Sommer (’88)
When President John F. Kennedy famously declared, “We choose to go to the Moon” in 1962, few Americans fully understood how we would achieve that lofty goal, including—apparently—many NASA engineers. “I knew nothing about space, but who did?” laughs Gerald Sandler (’56), an unassuming statistics major who became a lead engineer and program manager with the Apollo Lunar Module Program. “Even for those of us behind the scenes, reaching the Moon was like going on a vacation where you don’t know how you’ll get there and have no idea what the destination will be like!”
College and coffee go hand in hand, and Baruch is no exception. During midterms and finals, especially, students buzz around the Newman Vertical Campus between study sessions swigging Starbucks or nitro cold brews purchased from one of the food trucks or boutique coffee shops popping up throughout the neighborhood. It’s no surprise, then, that Baruch alumni continue their love affair with coffee long after graduation. But they’re not only drinking it—they’re selling it, as Baruch entrepreneurs are making their mark on what has become a $20 billion global industry. From running hip coffeehouses to supporting responsibly sourced beans, owning trendy cold-brew companies to innovating instant coffee, meet four alumni who are helping to shape this growing industry, one flavorful cup at a time.