Mike GuarnieriAs the first member of his family to attend college, Mike Guarnieri  ’84 has been donating to Fairfield University since the day he graduated. "As a single person, I need to keep reminding myself that life is not all about me," he says. "I'm blessed with a wonderful life, but part of our responsibility is to give back, which is why I help Fairfield."

Mike plans to continue making annual gifts to Fairfield and has also decided to make a planned gift as a "final" commitment to the University and to ensure that his estate would be put to good use. "Committing to planned giving ensures that you'll leave a lasting legacy," Mike explains. "But more importantly, it's a way of making certain that at least a portion of your estate goes to a very worthwhile institution. Many people are very generous about giving during their lifetime, but forget about the estate they will leave. Getting that sorted out now is smart and helpful to Fairfield, even before they receive any of the funds from your estate."

After graduating from Fairfield with a degree in accounting and a minor in economics, Mike began working at Arthur Andersen LLP as an auditor and later accepted a position at Omega Engineering, Inc. as an accountant. He eventually decided to pursue his MBA and graduated from the Stern School of Business at New York University in 1992. He then joined GE Capital, where he worked for 19 years in commercial lending, Lean Six Sigma Quality, and risk management, before moving to the General Electric Company Headquarters to manage Finance Education globally for GE, including in its renowned Financial Management Program.

In addition to his notable career successes, Mike has also been extensively involved with his church, the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, in Stamford. There, he practices his faith as a Lector, Eucharistic Minister, and as a member of the Finance Council. Mike also enjoys traveling, and within the past few years, he's explored locations far and wide, including Turks & Caicos, both coasts of Florida, Las Vegas, Ireland, Scotland, and several national parks such as the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park.

Reflecting on his own life experiences, Mike offers students and recent graduates a piece of advice: "On the personal side, treat others the way you'd like to be treated. Listen more than you talk. Remember that you would not be what you are without Fairfield — it was a component of creating the 'you' that you are, so pay it forward by giving back." He adds, "My first gift to Fairfield was $125, so the amount doesn't matter. Don't let the fact that you can't give a large amount stop you from giving anything. Do what you can. That's all that's reasonably expected of you."