When George Coleman ’78 VSB took a summer job at age 16 at the Larchmont Shore Club in New York, he had no idea that it would be his first introduction to the power of the Villanova network.
The president of the club, Edward Riley ’43 VSB, took a liking to Coleman and suggested that he consider Villanova for college. Coleman knew little of the school, but was intrigued by Riley’s descriptions and guided by his mentorship.
Coleman would later tap into the Villa-nova network to launch his 30-year career in finance, to prepare Villanova students for jobs on Wall Street, and to inspire other alumni to stay engaged and involved with their alma mater.
“Villanova changed my life, so it’s very easy for me to give back,” Coleman says.
FINDING A BROTHERHOOD
Coleman sees his life as a series of mile-stones, and one of the most influential for him was the decision to join Delta Tau Delta fraternity soon after coming to Vil-lanova as an Accounting major. He even-tually became president of the group.
“It gave me an enormous amount of confidence, not only that the brothers had faith in me that I could do the job, but also that, in return, I could deliver,” Coleman says.
The next milestone also came courtesy of his DTD affiliation. A few years after graduation, he was working in sales but hop-ing to break into finance. At a dinner with fraternity brothers in New York City one night, Coleman sat next to Jim Giordano ’77 CLAS, who worked at a hedge fund and offered to make a call on Coleman’s behalf to the investment banking firm First Boston.
Coleman started in the associate train-ing program at First Boston, which later became Credit Suisse, and worked his way up to become a managing director in the firm’s Securities division and vice chair-man of the Global Equities department.
As his career bloomed, Coleman turned back to Villanova, hiring graduates for Credit Suisse jobs and also finding oppor-tunities to help them achieve at an even higher level.
“The interview process on Wall Street is very complicated, and I was seeing that Villanova students had the academic cre-dentials but needed more preparation in the soft skills,” Coleman says. For several years in the early 2000s, he pulled together Villanova alumni who were also top execu-tives on Wall Street to present to students on how financial institutions operate and on best practices for successful interviews.
“It is invaluable to have alumni of George’s caliber willing to share their insights and give back in ways that significantly benefit our students.” —Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, Villanova’s Provost
“George’s efforts are indicative of how generous and dedicated our alumni are to helping fellow Villanovans,” says Pat-rick G. Maggitti, PhD, provost and for-mer dean of the Villanova School of Business. “It is invaluable to have alumni of George’s caliber willing to share their insights and give back in ways that signifi-cantly benefit our students.”
Coleman is known to VSB students who attended the interviewing workshops he mod-erated for nearly 10 years, and he’s known to other VSB students because they’ve managed the $100,000 he gave to a student-managed fund in the endowment. Some students in the College of Nursing also know Coleman for a scholarship he established in memory of his mother, a nurse who earned a PhD in public health at the age of 63. Men’s Basket-ball players benefit from his support of the building of the Davis Center, his generosity to the upcoming Pavilion renovation project, and his endowment of the team’s strength and conditioning coach position.
Now retired, Coleman is even more active as a Villanova ambassador. His roles as New York regional chairman and member of the Campaign Executive Committee for the Villanova Campaign to Ignite Change keep him doing what he loves—building relationships, inspir-ing others to do their part and sharing his own Villanova story.
“I tell people that Villanova has not been a four-year decision. It’s been a 40-year decision,” Coleman says. “Those four years have stayed with me the entire time.”
For those who have known him the longest, it comes as no surprise that Cole-man is still connecting people and raising his hand for leadership roles.
“George doesn’t do anything halfway,” says Bill Donnell ’77 VSB, a classmate and DTD brother. “He goes all in or he doesn’t go in at all, and he has done that consistently since I met him in 1974.”