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Queens College ALUMNI Remember

Name: David S. Slackman
Where do you currently live: East Northport, New York

Profession: Founding President of Commerce Bank New York. Slackman formerly worked for a small bank in New York and had admired Commerce Bank’s work in New Jersey. When he found out it was looking to expand to New York, he approached Commerce and made an agreement with them. The first branch opened on September 21, 2001 with 60 branches now open throughout the city. Peter Meyer is the Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager for the Brooklyn/Queens submarket.

Year of graduation/major: 1970 with a degree in economics.

Why did you choose to attend Queens College?
Slackman attended Queens College because of the affordability of the school. It was also easy to get to from his hometown of Flushing. “I was happy to be accepted into Queens and it seemed to be a great place to go.”

How did Queens College prepare you for life and/or your chosen field?
“I got a world class education at Queens College. The quality of the education was really superior and as good as I would have had at any college in America.”

Who was your most inspiring professor or educator? Why?
Slackman said that there were so many that it would be different to name them all.

What is your favorite memory of Queens College?
“I think hanging out at the old student union, which was a very small place where students would congregate. It was just a great place to socialize.”

What do you think is the key to having a successful career?
“I think focusing on the challenges of the job at hand and having an eye on and an understanding to the responsibilities and the requirements of the position.”

Have you been back to your alma mater since graduation?
Slackman has been back to Queens College many times. He is active with the Queens College Business and Liberal Arts Program, and also assists with the school’s arts council.

Name: Bruce Bendell
Where do you currently live? Roslyn, Long Island

Profession: CEO, Chairman of the Board, President and CFO of Major Automotive Companies, Inc. Bendell began his career in the business with his brother by re-selling cars while still in college. He purchased Major Chevrolet in 1985 and had turned it into the largest dealership in the state by 1992. Its 2005 sales were near $300 million and it now has more than 190 employees.

Year of graduation/major: 1975 with a degree in economics and accounting.

Why did you choose Queens College?
Bendell, a city resident who was born in Brooklyn and also spent time living in Queens, said that he attended Queens College because of its affordability. He also said that it was because of the diversity of the programs offered and because he was able to do a dual major.

How did Queens College prepare you for life and/or your chosen field?
“Having the accounting and the economics background helped in running the business that I developed with my brother.” Bendell said his education helped him understand things such as supply and demand, commodities and marketing.

Who was your most inspiring professor or educator? Why?
Bendell said that he remembers that Queens College had very diverse professors and instructors, adding that he doesn’t recall ever having a bad one.

What is your favorite memory of Queens College?
“I just remember it was nice walking throughout the campus to the different buildings.” Bendell described Queens College as having a beautiful campus, and said that he fondly remembered being able to go to classes and sit outside on the lawn.

What do you think is the key to having a successful career?
“I think it was my ability to learn the basics and developing a growing business.” Other elements that Bendell attributed to having a successful career were getting feedback, taking different challenges and helping the community that supports the business, among other factors.

Have you been back to your alma mater since graduation?
Bendell, a member of many community organizations, returns to Queens College on a regular basis and assists with programs, such as meeting with students to talk about his business. “I think it’s important for graduates to come back as they grow and as they become successful.”

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