Young Alumni Philanthropy Takes Many Forms
Sharing time, talent and treasure comes naturally to the Jesuit educated.
“Philanthropy” is defined as “the desire to promote the welfare of others.” While the word generally connotes financial largesse, that is not always the case. These four active and engaged young alumni support their alma mater financially however they can and also make a meaningful philanthropic contribution through their involvement.
“I’m a Type A who is also trying to become a better soul by the end of each day.”
A resident assistant and later a head resident assistant, Christian O’Brien ’13 took his leadership and mentoring roles seriously. He served as a Hawk Host for four years, his senior year as a tour captain. He was president of Pharmaceutical Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT), a student group which facilitates networking opportunities within the industry to help students discern their career route upon graduation. His externships helped formulate a post-graduation plan. O’Brien interfaced with alumni and industry leaders and networked feverishly until the arrival of his self-proclaimed “day of reckoning” – landing a job.
Juli Kosuth ’12 helped O’Brien “push a cover letter and resume through the door” at Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of the multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi. O’Brien’s mentor, Helen Bourret MBA ’13, who spoke at a PILOT meeting, helped him develop a personal branding portfolio. O’Brien got the job as a vaccine specialist at Sanofi Pasteur, splitting time between Staten Island and Brooklyn.
In the year following graduation, O’Brien stayed nearly as busy with his alma mater as he did as a head resident assistant. A few weeks after graduation, he participated in the SJU Collegiate Challenge through Habitat for Humanity in Lafayette, La. Along with two other Hawks who work at Sanofi Pasteur, he delivered two programs on SJU’s campus, which resulted in 18 resumes being submitted for inside telesales positions. He conducted a networking program with the Lannon Hall resident assistants. He also worked with the SJU undergraduate admissions team on a presentation to promote SJU at two Catholic high schools in New York.
“Our son can go anywhere he wants, as long as it’s St. Joe’s.”
Ryan ’08 and Lauren ’10 (Young) Rigby are the quintessential Saint Joseph’s couple. They met on campus and recently bought a home in nearby Havertown. They log laps on the Sweeney Field track and still attend basketball games at Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena – although they have upgraded from student general admission to individual courtside seats. They’ve attended a number of Hawk2Hawk networking events. The couple’s newborn son, Vincent Patrick, already has his college picked out.
The couple’s favorite story is when they met the John R. Post ’60 at the Philadelphia International Airport at 6:30 a.m. on November 10, 2011, before boarding a flight to Las Vegas. Post said “hello” upon seeing the Rigbys’ SJU sweatshirts. As it turns out, the benefactor and namesake of the John R. Post ’60 Academic Center sat next to the Rigbys on the same flight and the three exchanged campus memories during the five-hour flight to Las Vegas.
Ryan worked as a caddy as an undergraduate and during his sophomore year, he walked a loop with a Notre Dame alumnus who had a full scholarship to play football. The former Irish gridder had donated his tuition back – and then some. Rigby knew then that one day he’d do the same.
As undergraduates, the Rigbys were scholarship recipients and believe it’s important to pass along the opportunities they had received to the next generation of students through their philanthropy.
Since graduation, Ryan has been a loyal donor to the Saint Joseph’s Fund and is now a proud member of the Barbelin Society, which extends tiered membership opportunities to graduates of the past decade. As a member of a few alumni affinity groups, Ryan has mentored many students. Lauren helps the University’s admissions enterprise as a Hawk Ambassador. She is also a member of the Hawk Athletic Fund.
“I tell today’s students ‘wealth comes from a whole range of human experiences.’”
While carving out his career niche after graduation, Brad Tumey ’00 fell out of touch with SJU. But his career took him to New York in 2007 and he reconnected with his alma mater by attending a few alumni events in New York.
He and wife, Heidi, recently moved from Manhattan to New Castle, Del., just 45 minutes from Hawk Hill, which has afforded him the opportunity to be more involved at Saint Joseph’s. Once a year, the J.P. Morgan vice president visits Hawk Hill in an “official” capacity to recruit summer interns. He also makes other “unofficial” campus visits, speaking at Finance Club information sessions open to all majors.
A member of the Barbelin Society, Tumey is eager to share his circuitous professional path with non-business majors. As a student, his interest in a government career, a typical career for international relations majors, waned. He took a job with MBNA upon graduation.
In 2007, he became a junior portfolio assistant for J.P. Morgan, “cut his teeth during the financial crisis” and has risen through the ranks to become a portfolio manager. “At work, I don’t only want to talk shop,” Tumey said. “I appreciate that our well-rounded core Jesuit education prepares us for good discussions with a multitude of people.”
– Valerie Asuncion and Kevin Kaufman