Today, SUNY New Paltz alumnus Mackenzy McMorris ‘22 (Finance; Black Studies) ‘24g (Business Administration) is a SUNY Chancellor’s Awardee and a tax technology consultant working for the Big-Four firm Deloitte. But just a few years ago he was new to the SUNY New Paltz campus and trying to find his way at first-year Open House when he learned about the Scholars’ Mentorship Program for the first time.
Founded 35 years ago, the Scholars’ Mentorship Program at New Paltz serves undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, supporting their educational journey and working to help them succeed personally and academically. Led by Mark Rumnit, the Scholars’ Mentorship Program continues to progress and mold students like McMorris.
“The program provides a sense of community for students of color on campus,” McMorris said. “It’s imperative to have spaces where people look like you and you can feel supported, especially for students from underrepresented populations.”
“I am extremely grateful for the impact Mark had on my college experience and SMP journey, he is a true role model and inspiration,” he goes on to say. “He was paramount to supporting my journey in completing two degrees in my three years of undergrad, and I’ll remain connected to SMP post-grad as these SMP connections last a lifetime.”
Outside of Rumnit, McMorris, like all other SMP students, was matched up with two mentors – one faculty, and one elder student – who from day one helped guide him through his journey at the University.
An aspiring business student, McMorris was matched with then-sophomore and fellow finance major Bibi Rahim ‘22 and School of Business Assistant Dean Aaron Hines.
From the peer student perspective, Rahim encouraged McMorris to join clubs and start getting to know people and programs on campus.
“She provided insight on the various extra-curricular involvements, organizations, and opportunities I could capitalize on to pursue my interest on campus,” he said.
As a student, McMorris was active with New Paltz chapters of the National Association of Black Accountants and the Business Association of Students of Color, where he would go on to serve as president.
Through NABA, he attended a conference in Florida, a trip that was supported in part by School of Business funds.
This led to a chance meeting with Deloitte, which led to an interview with the firm, and a job offer.
“Through meeting with Deloitte, who I am happy to say I now work for, I learned that there are a multitude of ways to create impact in the accounting field,” he said. “I’m not just crunching numbers; I’m providing solutions to improving tax processes for clients.”
McMorris also kept focused on achieving his academic goals. Hines encouraged him to apply to the University’s 4+1 MBA program, which lets undergraduate students start early on their graduate degrees, so they can earn a bachelor’s and a master’s in only five years.
“I feel what I’m learning in the MBA program is expanding my outlook on the business world,” he said. “I cover real-world applications in this program which helps give me context I can apply to my own professional career and to my future endeavors.”
McMorris also stays involved with SUNY New Paltz with a role serving on the Foundation Board’s finance and investment committee. He looks forward to furthering his academic career with a doctorate. He thinks often about how he might stay in touch with his alma mater as his professional trajectory continues to rise.
“SUNY New Paltz assisted the development of one of my passions, a passion for helping students in higher education find success,” he said. “I also want to provide students of color specifically, additional resources to raise collective consciousness, encourage mutual uplift, and find themselves in their college journey. I want for students to capitalize on the abundance of collegiate resources, in which they can craft paths toward achieving their own definition of success.”