Donor support propels finance major at global leadership summit

Walker Cacciatore ’18 (Finance) capped his career at SUNY New Paltz with a trip to the 2018 Beta Gamma Sigma Global Leadership Summit, a networking and professional development conference held in Chicago, Illinois for members of the international honor society for business students.

Cacciatore, a transfer student from Kinderhook, New York, was able to attend the Summit thanks in large part to a gift from alumnus Gary Gregg ’77 (Economics) to the School of Business Applied Learning Program, a new fund designed to increase students’ access to unique learning experiences.

“One of the things I’m very interested in is experiential learning,” said Gregg, now retired after 25 years at Liberty Mutual Group, where he held the title of president and CEO of Liberty Mutual Agency Corporation. “There’s a lot of learning that goes on in the classroom, but creating opportunities to connect that to what’s going on in the world of business, or other academic institutions, has a lot of value.”

Cacciatore, a May 2018 Beta Gamma Sigma inductee, joined hundreds of collegiate members, scholars, professionals and employers from around the world at this year’s Global Leadership Summit. The annual event offers world-class speakers, challenging workshops and case competitions, and, perhaps most importantly, opportunities to connect with fellow honor society members at various career stages.

“I had never really done a big networking event like that before, and going to this conference definitely made me feel more a part of Beta Gamma Sigma,” Cacciatore said. “I got to nerd out with other finance students, talking to people who do investment banking in places like Egypt and Mexico, and also got to meet and hear from professionals who have experienced so much.”

Prior to his graduation in December 2018, Cacciatore also served as president of the student-run Investment Club, which gave him an ideal platform for sharing his Beta Gamma Sigma experience with other New Paltz students.

“Investment Club is actually where I met a lot of my friends here,” he said. “We manage a virtual portfolio and pitch individual stocks and bonds to each other, so it’s been really helpful for learning how to talk and think about investing.

“For our first Investment Club meeting after the trip, I brought back a game show-style activity with investment questions that we did in one of the workshops. People got really into it.”

Now looking ahead to options for beginning his career (he has an offer from Mad River Associates, a private equity servicer based in Vermont where he interned during the summer of 2018), Cacciatore has been reflecting on the value of his conference experience, and how he might follow the philanthropic example set by Gary Gregg.

“To Mr. Gregg I would say, I have you to thank for sponsoring my trip” Cacciatore said. “I hope to pay it forward to my peers and younger generations as I become established in my own career.”

Visit the School of Business online to learn more about the Applied Learning Program and about the multitude of business student associations available to SUNY New Paltz students of all majors.