Marcia Belmar Willock ’50 is a self-educated investor who made millions in the stock market. When she wanted to support her alma mater, she chose to invest in the next generation.
In 2006, Willock made a five-year campaign pledge to Oswego for $1 million to create the Marcia Belmar Willock ’50 Endowed Visiting Assistant Professorship of Finance. It was the largest gift, exclusive of bequests, in the school’s history and its first endowed professorship. With the fund now fully endowed, the School of Business is pleased to announce the first Willock scholar.
Mary Tone Rodgers arrives this month to take on duties of teaching, advising and mentoring the next generation of financial experts.
“What I hope to do is impart to students the willingness to question the models — all the financial predictive models that we use on Wall Street that we took as bible. Those models don’t work in times of crisis nearly the way we relied on them to work,” Rodgers said.
“I want to impart to the next generation a sense of humility rather than arrogance — willingness to question our behaviors and reliance on computers,” Rodgers added.
“I am so delighted,” Willock said of Rodgers’ appointment, during a phone interview from her home in Maine. “She has done a great deal and her experience sounds tremendous.”
Speaking of the difference this professorship will make in students’ education about financial matters, Willock added, “I see this as opening
up a new door to the future.”
“We are thrilled to have Mary Tone Rodgers join our faculty,” said Dean Richard Skolnik. “She brings the best of both worlds — solid research background and experience in the field to benefit our students.”
Rodgers was a financial services executive with Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner and Smith for 30 years, rising to the rank of vice president of asset management. A Chartered Financial Analyst, she earned her doctorate in professional business studies from Pace University, and holds an MBA in finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Carleton College. She still maintains a private consulting business, managing $20 million in assets for individuals and nonprofits.
When the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, Rodgers became fascinated with what earlier crashes in history can teach investors today. Her studies led to J. Pierpont Morgan, and creation of the corporate bond market.
Rodgers is excited to be teaching in New York state where there are treasure troves of historical documents related to the world of finance, including records of local institutions like Pathfinder Bank. “I want to talk with community leaders … bridging what our university can accomplish and community needs,” Rodgers said. “I want to get our students jobs – not just jobs [but] great jobs.
“I want to open up some great pathways for them. I have contacts down in Manhattan and I want to cultivate long-term relationships with financial colleagues in our region too.”
Her enthusiasm for her field and her new position is contagious.
“I’m excited and humbled by this position,” Rodgers said. “I want to make sure that Oswego’s reputation and [Marcia Belmar Willock’s] reputation are only enhanced by the kinds of work we can do with this extraordinary gift to the university.
“I think she’s a woman who understands the power of the financial markets. But she’s also a woman who understands there have been holes in the way financial education is delivered — in those two things she and I are on the same page.”