Farmingdale State alum donates $750K to college

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By Dan Sears

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Murray Pasternack, a Farmingdale State College alumnus, and Judy Berkowitz, his life partner, have given $750,000 to the college, officials announced Tuesday.

That money will be used to seed a student-managed investment fund and for improvement to college’s School of Business.

With the funding, the school will house the “Murray Pasternack ’60 Finance and Trading Room,” featuring stock market ticker displays, 16 Bloomberg Terminals and individual subscriptions to the Barron’s and MarketWatch education program for students to advance their finance education.

“I am at a point in life that allows me to reflect back on the path I took and to thank those institutions that helped me achieve my goals,” Pasternack said in a written statement.

“I can’t think of a better way to thank the school that contributed greatly to my success, than to provide the tools needed to train the next generation,” he added.

Pasternack hails originally from Franklin Square and earned an associated of applied science degree in electrical technology at Farmingdale State, before going on to found Pasternack Enterprises in Irvine, California, where he was CEO from 1972 to 1992. The company is now a global supplier of radio frequency and microwave components, with 19 international distributors, serving clients in more than 35 countries.

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He is one of Farmingdale State’s most active and largest alumni supporters, according to the college. Last year, FSC dedicated the Murray Pasternack (’60) Lab for Radio Frequency and Microwave Technology in the campus’ Lupton Hall, and commemorated his $1.4 million gift to FSC, the largest individual gift made in the college’s history. Previously, Pasternack provided two $500,000 gifts to support the launch of FSC’s Honors Program, which provides 20 annual scholarships to engineering technology honors students.

“Murray’s generous and continued philanthropic support has had a profound impact on our long-established tradition as an engine of opportunity to high achieving, working class students of Long Island, and offers our students the resources to help them reimagine what’s possible,” Farmingdale State  President John Nader said in a written statement.

“We are deeply grateful to Murray for this student-focused funding, which will create an unprecedented learning experience for FSC students interested in security analysis, portfolio management and more,” Matthew Colson, vice president for development and alumni engagement at Farmingdale State, said in a written statement.

“It will also afford our students the opportunity to be better educated and informed for their own personal financial well-being,” Colson added.

Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and an Alumni Advisory Council of additional investors at $10,000 a member, FSC students will operate as a boutique trading firm, to oversee the Murray Pasternack ‘60 Student-Managed Investment Fund with a starting portfolio budget of $500,000. The students will manage assets on behalf of the Farmingdale College Foundation, for the School of Business. The fund offers an applied learning experience by providing relevant, real-world learning and application of concepts of asset valuation, equity research and portfolio management.

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“This experience will help set a Farmingdale graduate apart when applying for jobs after college,” Richard Vogel, dean for the School of Business, said in a written statement. “Our students will have more experience and a competitive advantage to be successful in their professional careers and personal wealth management when they leave FSC.”

Located on the third floor of the School of Business, the Murray Pasternack ’60 Finance and Trading Room, will be designed to serve as a collaborative space that simulates a trading room experience. Here, students will be able to develop asset management skills with access to the same technology used by top financial institutions, including investment software, subscriptions, and real-time business data using the dual-monitored Bloomberg workstations and two new LCD television screens at the front of the lab.

The School of Business lobby and trading lab entrance will feature stock market ticker displays, which will provide financial market news, U.S. market indexes, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq, currencies, commodities, and stock price changes for the top 100 U.S. stocks. The ticker information is provided by Rise Display, Inc., which receives the stock price feed from Reuters.

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“The goal is to spur financial education, learn from investing’s best minds, and foster professional growth,” Colson said. “Our students will have access to the same real-time content that provides perspective, insights, and analysis utilized by the most successful business professionals. This is truly an investment in their future.”

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