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Table of Contents

Technical Work

What's New About the New Economy?

Brave New Economy

The Idea Factory

Networking: Anytime, Anyplace...

Alumni Accomplishments

Magazine Cover

Brave New Economy

Start-ups, dot-coms, e-businesses… Laurentians are bringing their liberal arts education to bear on the "new economy" in a wide array of ways.

Hilary Jenkins Alford '96
The Dot-com Life

For Hilary Alford, working at a dot-com was "an unbelievable experience." Two years ago, she was one of the first 50 corporate employees to join the staff of, an online grocery company that also offers such services as dry cleaning and film developing delivery. As a field marketing manager, her duties included coordinating sponsorship opportunities, making corporate presentations and attending community events to put a human face on the dot-com industry. "I was a sociology major at St. Lawrence, so my classes were about people and society, and that relates centrally to the dot-com field," Alford says.

Alford adds, "Dot-coms offer a real relationship-building opportunity." She says the dot-com environment fosters teamwork. "No one ever does just what they're asked to do; they go above and beyond," she says.

Alford's husband, Jonathan '96, is also part of the "new economy." He works for Brainshark, a company that makes software for adding voice to PowerPoint presentations. And even though's future is up in the air and Alford was part of a recent division-wide layoff, she says employment with a more traditional company, with its less stimulating environment, does not appeal to her. "I can't even imagine doing anything traditional after being at a dot-com," she says.
--Tanya Parrott '96

Beth Angerosa '99
Technically Speaking, A Financial Writer

Beth Angerosa graduated from St. Lawrence with a double major in English writing and music. The liberal arts being what they are, that naturally qualified her to be a financial writer for IDEAglobal, an online company that does financial forecasting and analysis, covering everything from equities to fixed income to currency trading. IDEAglobal is headquartered in Singapore, with offices in London, New York, Fort Worth, San Francisco and Miami.
Angerosa's task is to filter what the analysts forecast and explain the implications for the general economy, interest rates or currency trading. "I write for a few different online sites," says Angerosa. "People buy our products or access our Web sites. They can have round-the-clock access to financial advice, minute-by-minute market summaries, regional calendars of economic events and the like." A great deal of Angerosa's research is accomplished through computer-based research tools, as well as over the good old-fashioned telephone.

Angerosa is convinced that St. Lawrence's liberal arts education gave her the foundation skills needed to compete in a world that is changing at an increasingly fast pace. "This is especially true when I think about today's 'new economy,' where dot-coms and Internet start-up companies are increasingly prevalent in everyday life," says Angerosa. "Although I did not specifically study finance and economics, St. Lawrence provided me with a broad-based education, which allows me not only the flexibility to choose my area of expertise, but also the ability to comprehend it.

"St. Lawrence's writing program trained me as a journalist, and as a journalist I have to do everything from interviewing political candidates to describing how political turmoil in Argentina affects government bonds in Brazil," says Angerosa. "Thanks to the training I received as an undergraduate, and the skills I developed through meeting the demands of my professors at St. Lawrence, I feel that I can tackle any challenge, even working at a fast-paced, highly demanding, high-tech financial analysis firm."
--Eveline Carlen '01

Betsy Bernard '77

Eleven thousand. Twenty-seven million. Nineteen billion. Eighty billion. Betsy Bernard lives large.
As executive vice president of the Denver-based telecommunications company Qwest National Mass Markets, Bernard leads an 11,000-person organization. Her challenge over the past few years has been to help transform a traditional organization into a new-economy powerhouse that can effectively market and sell data, Internet and wireless services to a mass audience.

"I'm proud to say we now lead the industry in these capabilities," she commented.

Qwest National Mass Market works with 27 million consumers and small businesses, generating one-third of parent corporation Qwest Communications' $19 billion revenue stream. Qwest, she says, represents a new model telecommunications company in a new economy: a large-cap, high-growth company that's been around only since 1997 and that, through a series of strategic acquisitions, has a market capitalization in the $80 billion range. Its mission is to be a leader in Internet and broadband services, nationally and internationally.

Such success takes drive, intelligence and courage, and Bernard credits her "fantastic liberal arts education" with developing her fundamental skill set.
"I learned the value of being outside my comfort zone when I spent the second semester of my sophomore year in Kenya," she says. "My first few nights there were on a tea plantation in a one-room house with a family of eight."

At St. Lawrence, she says, she learned to read, write, analyze, synthesize and critically evaluate information; she learned communications skills, both written and verbal; she learned to be excited about being in different cultures and situations. And she experienced being part of a team, and being its leader, through athletics and student life roles.
Her 25 years in the telecommunications industry have taught her this lesson: "treat every experience as an opportunity to learn. Failures can actually teach more than success." --Lisa M. Cania M'82

John Colston '79
Global Perspective

Now that an Internet connection is as much a part of a standard college residence hall room as a bed, lamp or desk, "No one is remote any more," according to John Colston.

Colston is a former America Online executive who worked at the firm while it went from a company with 200 employees to a huge one. He is now a consultant to and investor in high-tech firms that sell Web-based products. How does he decide which companies to get behind?

"I think people are more important than business plans," he says. "Business plans can change. I invest in the people who make up a company."

Colston was an intern at Microsoft while in business school, after 10 years in television news. "I'm very bullish on the liberal arts, and especially on study abroad," he says, noting his experience in Kenya. "Our 20s is the decade for experimenting. You rarely know where you'll end up professionally, but remaining flexible to all career possibilities maximizes your potential."

That's true of Colston, who lives in Maryland and the Adirondacks, where he's become involved in efforts to get a natural history museum near Tupper Lake off the ground. "My St. Lawrence education prepared me to do just about anything," he notes. "I certainly developed the communication skills I needed. My only regret is that I didn't study another semester abroad, in addition to Kenya. The overseas experience has literally as well as figuratively helped me see things from a global perspective." --Macreena Doyle

On-Line Health Care
William Cowan '86

Bill Cowan was a student at St. Lawrence at a time when the Internet was still a figment of the imagination. Today, Cowan's Web-based business, @Outcome, is thriving in a world where reliance on the Internet is growing every day.

Based in Austin, Texas, @Outcome (Web address: links people in health care through technology. Cowan, who is president and chief executive officer, says his company supplies technology that brings medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and physicians together to improve the process of care management.
Patient use of his service, he says, is guided by physicians. "It's really powerful technology that helps patients participate in a greater way in their own care," he explains. "It's not a generic Web site. It's targeted technology."

The company, which employs 75 people, has been well received by the industry because it helps to improve the flow of information among all segments of health care. "We're helping to improve dramatically what the health care industry is doing today," Cowan says.

Cowan adds that the recent shakeup in the industry is proof that all businesses must follow realistic revenue models. He says he has always been somewhat cynical about differentiating between the "old" and "new" economies, but he acknowledges that technology is taking people places they never used to be able to go.

"I think technology has progressed to the point where we can solve problems today in ways we couldn't years ago," he says. "We're able to apply new kinds of information solutions."

All Web-based companies must employ their share of "techies," but Cowan says he has plenty of people who were educated at liberal arts universities like St. Lawrence. "The thing that drives us as a successful company is the people who solve problems, think critically and have good interpersonal skills, abilities you pick up at a liberal arts college," he says. "You deal with a broad base of people. Having a wide educational background like St. Lawrence provides is a tremendous help."

Ian Grant '84
The Information Dirt Road

Ian Grant has started and sold three Internet companies in the last five years. He says he learned how to do that while stranded beside a lonely dirt road in Kenya.

"While on St. Lawrence's program, I was dropped off in the middle of nowhere to meet my rural host family," Grant explains. "But there was no one there. I had a small flash of panic, but quickly an inner confidence that I could do this took over. Ninety minutes later, my host mother arrived with one of the warmest smiles I have ever seen. I learned that day that I could stretch my comfort zone."

Stretching his comfort zone is what Grant has been doing ever since. In 1994, after quitting the Boston real estate scene and spending a year back in Kenya, he and a partner co-founded, one of the original Internet resume database recruiting services in America. Taking a more localized approach than their few competitors, such as, they were profitable immediately.

Next up was HotChili Technology, launched in 1996 on the theory that companies would rather have someone else manage resume flows, as part of the job search and recruitment stream, over the Internet. That theory proved correct.

Grant's current venture,, "started up" in late 1999. He defines it through example: "Many college alumni find the value of their education declining over time, and colleges don't have a system in place to tackle this. We help the colleges establish that system by creating modules for them, such as career advice, health care and financial management, that keep alumni coming back." He sold to Lee Hecht Harrison, a global career services firm specializing in outplacement, career development and executive coaching that is a division of Adecco SA, in December 2000.

As his companies' self-described "chief visionary officer," Grant is skeptical of the term "new economy." "It's the same old economy, but with new ways of doing it," he avows. "The basic laws haven't changed: supply and demand, finding a niche, hiring good people, providing good service.
"A good liberal arts foundation is still the best preparation," Grant continues. "What I learned at St. Lawrence was how to learn, solve problems, stretch my comfort zone and take risks. That has enabled me to lead a liberal arts kind of life."

Erin Halliwell '98
Playing the Internet Game

Uproar Network of New York City is a leading online game/entertainment destination on the Web where visitors can play games like Family Feud, Bingo and lotteries. Account executive Erin Halliwell sells advertising space on Uproar's Web site. "We offer our users a wide variety of online games," she says, adding that players can win monetary prizes or vacations.

When asked what "the new economy" means to her, Erin laughingly responds, "It's given me a job." She describes the Internet industry as "very young and fast-paced. That in itself makes it very exciting. As a Top 20 site we have a lot of leverage and can draw larger advertisers and can market to a broader demographic spectrum. There is never a dull moment," she says.
Halliwell has witnessed rapid change in the Internet Industry in a short time, a testament to the transient nature of the "new economy." "I started at Uproar a year ago and it was a definitive start-up," she recalls. "We didn't have many resources. I've seen it progress rapidly to a corporation that has acquired two other companies."

When asked the direction she believes Internet companies are going, she predicts that mergers and acquisitions will become more prevalent. "Some companies will either go bankrupt or will be picked up by larger dot-coms," she says. "A couple of years ago the Internet industry created a huge number of jobs. In today's market there is a new dot-com going broke every day and agencies are laying people off. The market is really soft right now."

An environmental studies-psychology major at SLU, Halliwell recalls working with Professor Tom Greene, psychology, on projects that proved pertinent to her career path. "I gained knowledge not found in a textbook," she says. "I was able to expand my horizons beyond my immediate environment, and that's what the 'new economy' is all about."
--Rachael Leiserson '98

Amit Jain '99
Financing a Transformation

Want to find out the value of an Internet start-up? Or learn the risk of acquiring a particular Internet company? Amit Jain, an investment banking financial analyst in the field of e-finance at Salomon Smith Barney, a premier Wall Street investment bank, could provide the answers.

"We not only help companies raise capital, either through public markets or private investors, but also advise them on mergers and acquisitions," Jain explains. "I use financial modeling techniques to find the right value of a company and to analyze outcomes of mergers and acquisitions." The position also requires analysis of "competitive landscapes of different e-finance industry sectors like online brokerages, e-payments, smart cards, online financial services, electronic exchanges and others," he continues.
Jain's year and a half in e-finance have led him to believe that "the 'new economy' is generating massive global efficiencies through an explosion in the use of high-tech devices and is an economic transformation as profound as the one that led us into the Industrial Revolution. In this truly global marketplace you have to stay on your toes at all times to keep up with the competition," he notes.

Jain recalls his time at St. Lawrence as influential because it provided him an opportunity to acquire leadership ability and be a team player in diverse arenas. "I was very involved in campus activities," he says, adding, "if I had gone to a big national university it would have been much harder for me to build such strong rapport with the faculty and my peers. The liberal arts education encourages you to work in a team and think creatively," he says.

"Those are keys to success in the 'new economy.'"
--Rachael Leiserson '99

Jeff Killeen '75
A Blank Piece of Paper

Does the president and CEO of believe that there is a "new economy"? Yes. But…
Seeing the Internet as a "catalyst for innovation," Jeff Killeen '75 believes that we are in a phase of speculation. "Sooner or later, there will always be a separation of good ideas and good business ideas. The fundamentals of business don't disappear," he says. "You eventually have to deliver value to the customer, and be profitable."

A player in the Internet world since its early days, Killeen knows how to do both. Lured to California in 1994, he began his first online venture in a cooperation between Pacific Bell and the Los Angeles Times. "We created the first electronic shopping service, At Hand, through a merger of the yellow pages and the classifieds," he says. (Think early

Moving back to New York in 1998, Killeen brought the entrepreneurial spirit of the Internet to two iconic brands, first as CEO of in 1998 and moving on to launch in 2000. "Big brands are going to be increasingly important on the Internet," he says. "The surge in technology creates a platform to run one's business better, faster, cheaper. It's not that you throw the old business model away, you just embrace the new technology to do it better."

Accountable for all aspects of the strategic and operational management of, Killeen believes that St. Lawrence prepared him for his career by teaching him "to deal effectively with a blank piece of paper." He credits St. Lawrence with giving him the ability to communicate, do research and "think broadly, almost philosophically," about business. St. Lawrence, he says, also prepared him to "present ideas and concepts clearly and effectively," in a career that has often found him recommending things that have never been done before.

Killeen believes that the role of a liberal arts education is "fundamentally to teach one how to think." It comes as no surprise then, that his advice to those starting out in the new business world is "don't ever stop being a student of your business."
--Dawn-Marie Webster '96

Heather Lennon '91
Tradition, with a Twist
When I spoke with Heather Lennon, she had just returned from meeting with personnel on the West Coast, a confirmation that one aspect she says she loves about her job is the opportunity to travel. Lennon is an on-line sales manager at HarperCollins in New York City, marketing children's books to on-line retailers. She describes her job as a traditional position with "a 'new economy' twist."

In addition to traveling, Lennon also enjoys the creative aspects of online product placement and marketing. She coordinates author interviews and author essays that appear on Web sites to promote featured books.

The introduction of book-selling on the Web has also afforded her an opportunity to market differently. "Working online is like working in a store that has no limits. You can be a lot more creative because you aren't confined to a store with shelves," she says.

Lennon says the "new economy" broadens the choice in jobs. "I graduated in 1991 in the middle of a recession," she says, noting that now there are "so many more communication-oriented positions available" for new graduates.
When asked how SLU helped shape some of her professional skills, she responded, "being at a small school, I had a lot of opportunities." For example, English Professor Joe Bellamy encouraged her to become an editor of The Laurentian, and she was also an intern in the office of University communications. "If I had gone to a really large school I don't know if I would have been able to do those things," she says. "I felt comfortable sticking my neck out."
--Rachael Leiserson '99

Robert E. McClain P'04
The More Things Change…

The opportunities of the dot-com world attract young folks of all ages.
Take Bob McClain for example. Co-founder and executive officer of, a year-old e-commerce company that specializes in marketing private label (store-brand) products and increasing their profitability, he sounds like any of the dozens of new St. Lawrence graduates who head into cyberspace each year-except for the fact that he received his college degree in 1972 from the University of Dayton.

"It's a bigger world out there today, and there are more and more ways to connect with it," says McClain, whose son Matthew is a first-year student at St. Lawrence. The elder McClain adds that the Internet is the most obvious, but not only, demonstration of that fact. With more than 25 years of experience in the private-label industry under his belt, he says that to him the "new economy" isn't that much of a departure from the old.

"It's a faster, more informed world," he says, "and that kind of atmosphere benefits both consumers and manufacturers." His basic job, though, hasn't changed. "I work to create and build a brand so that it is interesting to consumers," he says. Martha Stewart products and Kathie Lee Gifford's line of clothing, for example, fall under the private-label umbrella, he explains, noting that "Those names are something that consumers can relate to and recognize," which he translates to an increased customer base for retailers.

"In many ways the old economy will always be with us," says McClain. "Stakeholder values are not going to change." In these times of explosive and sudden growth, of fortunes made overnight and initial public offerings right and left, investors are still demanding results-one important aspect of McClain's world that hasn't changed one iota.

All that aside, "The 'new economy' is an exciting thing for me," McClain concludes, adding that he looks forward to the new challenges, changes and advances that the future holds for us all.
--Joe Kerper '00

Warren "Barry" Phelps '69
The Joy of Being Used

The 'new economy' needs Barry Phelps. It can't proceed precisely without him, actually. For every time you access the Internet and the information appears correctly on your screen, Barry Phelps, group chief operating officer and Broadband Division president of Sprint Communications, is the one to thank.

His company's performance-measuring products may have a little to do with this process. But under Phelps's direction, every piece of electronic information now available on the Internet passes through systems that have been designed, manufactured or evaluated with Sprint Communications products.

Phelps admits, "Everyone uses us." From Cisco Systems to Internet service providers to the newest start-up, every company needs Sprint's products in order for its systems to operate properly. To Phelps, this very variety represents his idea of the "new economy."

He thrives on the pace, the daily challenges and the excitement of his industry and credits his success to the skills he developed while at St. Lawrence. "The technical skills take you only so far," Phelps explains. "You need the communication skills - both written and verbal - and the problem-solving skills to get to the next rung and beyond."
--Gretchen von Schlegell '94

David Powell Sr. '59
Report from Silicon Valley

Dave Powell knows the Silicon Valley. "I was lucky to land there in the late '60s," he says. "The phenomenon was just beginning." He grew with it, first working for some leading high-tech companies, then setting out on his own "to create a business that provided services to the emerging venture capital (VC) community and the high-tech and biotech start-up companies the VCs spawned," he explains.

Today, 25 years later, he has 80 employees and four businesses under the eponymous umbrella David Powell Inc., reaching into such areas as executive search, interim finance services and business mentoring to portfolio start-ups (for details, go to One of his companies provides these services to the growing European and Asian VCs "that want the Silicon Valley 'DNA,'" he says, and he has just opened an office in Austin, Texas, because Austin "has all the opportunities and instincts the Silicon Valley had 20 years ago."

From his headquarters in Woodside, Cal., Powell says, "The 'new economy' is no more than businesses, organizations and agencies that have been created or enhanced by high technology. Almost everyone is part of it. It's a market and a process, and most of all an attitude. It's a 'can do' spirit.

"When I graduated from St. Lawrence there were no computers on campus, and now every incoming student is not only computer-literate, but lives by computers, wireless hand-held devices and the Internet," the principal tools of the "new economy," Powell notes. He says St. Lawrence needs to adapt its curriculum and its faculty to this "new kind of student." He has urged President Sullivan to "continue to imagine ways to strengthen the curriculum to stimulate entrepreneurial thought leaders, a course of study that will stretch a student's intellect and confidence.

"What I learned at St. Lawrence that helped me the most in building (my) firm came from dealing with people, providing leadership and learning to be honest and decent," he says. "That's not part of the liberal arts curriculum, but it's certainly part of a liberal arts education." --NSB

Mitch Thrower '90
Getting in the Game Online

When he was introduced to speak at his Commencement as the Class of 1990 president, Mitch Thrower's career objective was described as "international business and business development." That turned out to be pretty accurate, even though, at the time, Thrower's realm -- the Internet -- was years away from general consciousness.

Thrower is co-founder and vice president for strategic development at, the leading online registration company for participatory sports and recreational activities, based in La Jolla, Cal.; he's currently leading the company's international expansion. Through the Web site, you can find calendars, content, community features and training tools for a wide range of sports and activities, as well as locate, learn about and register online for events and activities. Thrower's primary focus now is taking the features of to a global audience.

"Everything changes and everything moves very fast," Thrower says, describing not only business in the "new economy," but also life in general. "You have to be ready to adapt." He should know -- he came to St. Lawrence to play lacrosse, but switched gears after fracturing both knees. Instead of athletics, Thrower's extracurricular life revolved around the debate team, which he led to several championships.

"St. Lawrence is a great school for learning how to establish relationships," he says. "The Internet economy is all about relationship architecture -- bringing people together to get stuff done. And I really learned how to do that at St. Lawrence."

As an example, Thrower talks about how he started running with his roommate during his senior year. That simple act of getting involved in an activity to spend more time with a friend led, he says, "to my passion for participatory sports." The word "passion" doesn't overstate it -- he is a seven-time Ironman finisher, a long-distance runner and recreational triathlete. Thrower also began his first business, College Connection, while a student at St. Lawrence.

Asked what advice he'd have for today's University students as they prepare to start careers in the "new economy," Thrower says, "Use your time there to figure out what you're passionate about. If you can figure out a way to have a job doing something you're absolutely passionate about, you can't go wrong." --Macreena Doyle

Dawn-Marie Webster '96
A Year is Only Three Months
Here is how the "new economy" has impacted the world of advertising: in the "old economy," I talk, you listen; in the "new economy," we have a conversation.
I moved to Grey Interactive this summer after four years in traditional advertising, looking to explore the new world of e-business. What I found was a lot of complicated jargon and a "space" that seemed completely different. I was overwhelmed. So I surfed religiously, learned the new dot-com language, and have come to realize that the "new economy" is not as different as it may appear.

Technology allows me a more direct dialog with the customers I've been trying to talk to all along. Rather than interrupt them to deliver a message through television or print ads, now I can invite them to interact with my client's brand personally through an ad or a Web site. The challenge is to use tools like personalization and real-time response to provide the customer with a benefit in the advertising itself. And online the customer is the one deciding whether or not to see your ad, so you'd better offer something more interesting than an old-fashioned product message!

St. Lawrence prepared me well for the challenges of the new advertising world. With the interdisciplinary approach to teaching at St. Lawrence, I learned how to "search and reapply" knowledge to new challenges. St. Lawrence also gave me a thirst to learn about and try new things, and since they keep telling me that on the Internet a year is only about three months, I'll have plenty of learning to do. --DMW

Jon Wheeler '80
Electronic Betty

Circa1960. The busy executive presses an intercom button and says "Betty, get me Mr. Johnson on the phone." Betty consults her Rolodex, places the call and ultimately connects the executive with Mr. Johnson, all while the executive continues to work on that important report.

Fast forward to 2001. Betty's updating the Web site and Mr. Johnson (or Ms. Johnson) has an office number, cell phone, pager, e-mail address and fax number. Tracking him (or her) down is a full-time job.

Jon Wheeler'80, senior vice president of sales and marketing of Axiom 8, is working to solve that problem. Launched in spring 2000, Axiom 8, with 100 employees, is in product development, client recruitment and beta testing for the "only integrated communications software on the Internet." The company's goal is to create a tool for people-to-people, real-time communication, thereby enhancing service and effectiveness.

"It's merging telephone and data, using software to 'search' for contacts, friends, family," says Wheeler. "I could say, out loud, 'Find Lisa' and my computer will search through all available ways to communicate with you until it locates the one method that will put us in touch immediately." Wheeler allowed that some people don't want to be "found" at a particular moment, and the software makes it possible for its users to establish availability parameters.

The chemistry major sees a direct correlation between his St. Lawrence education and the skill set he brings to this new business. "I'm always asking 'what's our hypothesis?' and then challenging myself and colleagues to find the evidence to support or disprove the theories. Also, my work requires me to respect a broad diversity of opinion, to realize that no single point of view is the 'right' one. I learned that in the St. Lawrence classroom, " he avows. --Lisa M. Cania M'87

Michael Wishart '78
Fueling the New Economy

Despite the implications in the term, the "new economy" doesn't include just Internet companies, according to Michael Wishart, an investment banker with Goldman Sachs in Silicon Valley, Calif.

"It's not just the young businesspeople wearing black T-shirts who are using new technology to be successful; established companies like Ford are also using the Internet (to promote or sell merchandise)," he says.

Wishart says the term "new economy" is "a misnomer" because using technology in business is common among all businesses. "The Internet isn't a business; it's a tool for businesses," he says.

Wishart helps technology companies-- such as Intel and Cisco-- find investors when they want to "go public," or offer stock for sale on the stock market. If he determines that a company has the potential to remain successful, he helps arrange the "IPO," or initial public offering.

A mathematics and economics double major at St. Lawrence, Wishart says a quantitative background has been essential throughout his career. He adds that a liberal arts education will be more important in the future, as opposed to a specialized degree. "People who can take a tremendous amount of information, distill it and make decisions will be increasingly valuable," he says, explaining that information will move faster and employees will have to be less specialized as the economy continues to evolve.
-Eva Dunn-Froebig '98

Thinking Out of the Box: The Private Equity Gift Partnership
Dekkers Davidson '78 and his wife, Barbara Shea Davidson '77, wanted to make a statement of support for St. Lawrence, but their assets were largely tied up in private stock in, where he was chief executive. With the fate of the company uncertain, how could they know what they could afford to give? They pledged 15 % of their equity, or just over 1 % of the company, to St. Lawrence, to be paid later when the company goes public, is acquired or otherwise liquidates the shares. Time will tell what this gift will ultimately be worth.

Welcome to the brave new world of St. Lawrence philanthropy through gift partnerships. Here's how it works - an individual who has been granted equity, or "options" at a low price, completes a written pledge agreement to contribute a percentage of his or her equity (or number of shares) to the University, often for a specific project. After the stock is liquidated-through an initial public offering (IPO) or acquisition, for example-the donor transfers the shares to St. Lawrence and may realize a significant tax benefit through the charitable deduction and the avoidance of capital gain on the gift shares. The donor may have to wait out a "lock-up" period, although it may be waived for charitable purposes.

Says Davidson, "Whether you're a company founder, a management executive, a venture capitalist or on the finance side taking a company public, if you have stock or options in a privately held company you should seriously consider this method of giving." Adds Director of Major Gifts Michael Archibald, "The donor can state his or her intentions for the University without making a specific dollar pledge. As the donor prospers, so prospers St. Lawrence. Beyond the substantial tax benefits, donors like the idea of peeling off a portion of their gain to help with a project at the University."

St. Lawrence recognizes that not every start-up company succeeds and that some commitments will not end in a substantial gift. "But, when a company takes off it can result in a really special contribution to St. Lawrence," Archibald says.

St. Lawrence has also established a mechanism to consider, and in certain cases to accept, shares of stock while they are still privately held. These gifts often do not provide the same tax benefit because the shares are typically conservatively appraised in value prior to becoming marketable securities.

Gift agreements are simple and non-binding. Donors wishing more information about this program may contact Michael P. Archibald, Director of Major Gifts, at 315-229-5507 or