As Mike Smeriglio ‘83 recalls, it was love at first sight. He was sitting on a wall outside Pleasantville’s Kessel Student Center with a mutual friend of Geri (Zanfardino) Smeriglio ’83. Geri stopped to say hello to her high school friend, and when she walked away, Mike said, “I’m going to that marry that girl.” Two years later, in the beginning of their junior year, they began dating, and in 1985, Mike proposed at the same spot. They were married in 1986, and for their 15th anniversary, Mike surprised Geri with an anniversary ring at that wall where they first met.
Both Geri and Mike came to Pace Pleasantville as first generation college students from traditional Italian-American families. They both chose Pace in part because it had a great reputation as a business school, but also because Pleasantville was just far enough away from Mike’s home in Connecticut and Geri’s in Long Island without being too far away.
“I loved the campus immediately,” recalls Geri. “It was beautiful and a great place to be. I had been active in student activies in high school, and I continued that at Pace. I planned Spring Flings and Snow Balls – I spent most weekend on campus.” Geri and Mike were also RAs on the Pleasantville Campus.
While at Pace, Mike was recruited by Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) where he worked in the audit department. He moved on to Pitney Bowes as senior internal auditor before opening his own accounting practice in his hometown of Greenwich, CT. He has also earned a number of professional designations, including Certified Public Accountant and Personal Financial Specialist.
Mike credits Pace with all of his professional success. “The professors in the accounting program were tremendous,” he says.
Geri had a work/study position at Pace in admissions, and after graduation she worked at Hofstra University in Long Island as the Associate Director of undergraduate admissions. She later joined the human resources team at Save the Children as the Manager of Recruiting working full-time until the birth of their first child, Maria, who is now a veterinarian. Their two younger children have followed in their father’s footsteps: Christina is a CPA, and Mickey will be sitting for the CPA exam this summer when he finishes his Masters in Accounting. The entire family joins Mike in his passion for racecars and spends most weekends travelling to racetracks on the east coast. Mike’s NASCAR Whelen Modified race team has won the championships in his division for 2014 and 2015.
The couple, who will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2016, still feels an affinity for their alma mater. Both Mike and Geri served on the Gold Ribbon Committee for the 50th anniversary of the Pleasantville campus. Mike was also the guest speaker at the first Dean’s Roundtable in Pleasantville this past fall with Dean Neil Braun of the Lubin School of Business, while Geri and her friends attended Homecoming 2015.
“We made some really strong friendships at Pace that we’ve maintained through the years,” notes Geri. “Mike will call and consult with other Pace alumni about business questions, and I have the Pace Girls, my core group of friends.”
No doubt we’ll see Geri and Mike on the wall outside Kessel again celebrating another milestone.
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