Pleasantville Alumni Share Their Stories

    Thomas Silvestri
   

Tom Silvestri ’77

    Thomas Silvestri
   

Silvestri, center, with mustache,
wearing hat and glasses

Alumnus and Newspaper Man Tom Silvestri Remembers the Pleasantville Beat

Tom Silvestri ’77 (Literature and Communications) is the president and publisher of the Richmond Times Dispatch.

I arrived at Pace Pleasantville in 1973 as an accounting-computer information science major. I was always interested in journalism and had edited my high school newspaper. But, after some consideration, I decided that accounting profession would provide a more substantial career.

During my freshman year, Jodi Goalstone, the editor of the New Morning, the Pleasantville campus newspaper (named after the Bob Dylan song), sent a letter inviting me to meet and talk about writing for the paper. In short order, I started writing for the paper on a regular basis and became managing editor during my sophomore year and editor during my junior and senior years.

The New Morning was a fun place to be. I was a newsroom rat and that’s where I hung out. I spent most of my time in the newsroom writing stories, interviewing people and working with staff. It was a very welcoming place. The staff was full of characters. It was a lot of fun and you got to put out a newspaper.

Journalism is a funny profession and you’ve got to practice it over and over and over again. The more you do it, the better you get. And, if you get good instruction like I did, you prosper and can build a career from that. At Pace the New Morning’s advisor was the legendary Dr. Donald Ryan. He was larger than life in many respects – full of stories and full of insights. A big sports fan.  A fan of Frank Sinatra. He was the right advisor for us.  He loved participating in the revere and he was a very good taskmaster on the importance of quality journalism. His mantra was ‘accuracy, accuracy, accuracy’ and ‘there’s no substitution for determination and grit.’ He’s another reason why I’m in this profession. The things he taught me more than 35 years ago, I’m still using to this day.

I paid for my freshman year by working at an A & P. But, when I was managing editor, Pace paid 75% of my tuition and I got a full tuition ride when I was the editor. I left college without any debt. Looking back, I’m very appreciative that Pace encouraged people to participate in extracurricular activities, especially at Pleasantville which was mostly a commuter school. They wanted to create a campus life that was more than just driving in and driving out. The tuition reimbursement program, quite frankly, allowed me to go to school.  Though, the school got something out of it too; they got a paper that came out mostly weekly that informed the Pleasantville campus of what was going on.

I think life is a lot of happenstance. Pace has a lot to offer and if you take the time you can knit a pretty good safety blanket for yourself and get a good education. If it wasn’t for that letter from Jodi Goalstone, I probably would have become an accountant.

    Thomas Silvestri
   

David M. Weinstein ’82, ’91

Giving Comes Full Circle for Alumnus David Weinstein

“My late history professor, Jim Holmes, always complained that I sold out when I went into business,” explained David M. Weinstein ’82, ’91, the founder and principal of Lakeside Advisors, a corporate finance advisory firm. “We stayed in touch until his passing and so for 20 years after graduation, Jim reminded me that I could have done so much more with my life. Jim wanted me to go into the foreign service, the State Department, to change the world politically, to redirect history, to give something back and do something other than just make money. But, I always felt there’s nothing wrong with just making money because I’d have money to give back.”

Immediately upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from the Pleasantville campus, Weinstein joined Bankers Trust as a corporate banking trainee. He would go on to spend the next 20 years in corporate banking and corporate finance before opening his own corporate finance advisory firm. Along the way, he earned his MBA at Lubin School of Business where he currently teaches a course in valuations.

“You don’t realize it at the time, but I think of it now – the student-teacher relationships are something of great value at Pace. And, it is something I try to give to my students. I learned to think and to analyze, and I couldn’t have done it without Jim Holmes. Twenty years from now I hope one of my students thinks of me and says ‘I had a professor who said that.’”

In 2002, David Weinstein established the Gloria G. Weinstein Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund that supports students pursuing a degree in history at Dyson College of Arts and Sciences. He also supports the Professor James Holmes International Travel Fund which provides funds to defray costs of international field students, summer abroad or semester abroad programs for History, Economics, or Political Science majors enrolled at our Pleasantville campus.