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Saw Mill Capital aims to strengthen financial service sector with scholarships

Image: Howard D. Unger '82, LHD '19.
Howard D. Unger '82, LHD '19. Image Credit: Provided.
Like many firms in the financial services industry, Saw Mill Capital has struggled to improve diversity among its investment team, said Howard D. Unger ’82, LHD ’19, managing partner and founder of the company, in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

“We believe that having diverse backgrounds and points of view results in better decision making,” said Unger, also a member of the Binghamton University Foundation board. “However, for many years, we have struggled to find qualified diverse applicants to meet our needs due to the lack of an available pipeline.”

The new Saw Mill Capital Opportunity Business Scholarship will help by supporting underrepresented, first-year School of Management (SOM) students achieve their dreams.

“SOM is one of the top undergraduate business school programs in the country,” Unger said. “In discussing the diversity challenge with Dean Dhillon, I was surprised to learn that even a top program like Binghamton struggles to recruit the best applicants because of financial need.

“Binghamton, despite being a state school with lower tuition than many private universities, was unable to offer the same financial incentives that the best applicants were being offered at other top universities. Scholarships like ours allow SOM to work toward its goal of enhancing diversity and attracting underrepresented minority students to the school.

“We are hoping that other firms and individuals will follow our lead and make similar ‘investments.’ We work in a large and very successful industry, and if other private equity firms that have struggled to improve their diversity were to make similar ‘investments’ to ours, we can make a profound difference in improving diversity within our industry.”

Jessica Faustin '24“When I first found out I received the scholarship, I was ecstatic, surprised and overwhelmingly thankful. I kept refreshing the page to make sure it was legit.

“This scholarship is making a significant difference in my life. With this scholarship, we were able to pay for college without the need to take out a loan, prevent cuts in our spending and use our money to pay for my sister’s college.”

— Jessica Faustin ’24, recipient of the Saw Mill Capital Opportunity Business Scholarship. She’s majoring in accounting and plans to earn her master’s through Binghamton’s accelerated/4+1 degree program. Her goals include working as a certified public accountant at a Big Four accounting firm in New York City, then possibly opening her own accounting firm.