The Business & Finance Institute and Bloomberg Lab

The First of its Kind in any Staten Island High School

Staten Island Advance
By Jessica Jones-Gorman and Annalise Knudson


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After Bob Pangia graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School in 1969, he made an impressive name for himself in the world of finance. Heading a division of investment banking at PaineWebber/UBS before co-founding Ivy Capital Partners, an orthopedic-focused private equity firm, the CEO climbed the corporate ladder and deeply rooted himself in the industry, earning more than 30 years of experience in financial management, investment banking and private equity. A skilled executive leader, Pangia has a strong record of success. This month he will bring those accomplishments back to his alma mater as the Oakwood school officially launches the first formal program of its newly minted Business & Finance Institute.

“I could not be more pleased that Monsignor Farrell High School has embarked upon a business and financial education initiative,” noted Pangia, who has been instrumental in both the Institute’s development and launch. “In addition to providing students with valuable knowledge and insights into real-world financial issues, such a program enables Monsignor Farrell to leverage two significant assets: its proximity to Wall Street, the financial capital of the world, and its already robust alumni representation in the financial services industry.”

Equipped with 12 Bloomberg terminals — the same technology found on trading desks and research departments of the largest financial institutions in the world — plus a SMART Board, video and teleconferencing technology, a financial library of current periodicals and other business- and finance-related literature, and a real-time digital stock ticker, Farrell’s Business & Finance Institute will serve as a comprehensive initiative to bring financial literacy to students.

Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls, murals of Arturo Di Modica’s iconic Wall Street Bull and the New York Stock Exchange, as well as global market time zone clocks on the wall, this professional and corporate space shines in both its aesthetics and function. In late January, Pangia will kick off a weekly series of guest lectures there which will present students with real-world insight into numerous financial topics that they may only know from headlines they find online.

“I believe this program will serve the needs of a broad spectrum of students,” Pangia explained. “The institute will offer programs for teaching basic life financial skills for dealing with an ever more complex world of financial instruments and institutions. In addition, for those students who may wish to pursue careers in financial services, the program will illuminate the many career paths available through introduction of contemporary subjects in business and finance and through interaction with many of the Farrell men who have come before them and are willing to share their experiences. A win/win situation.”

The school plans to tap into its deep pool of accomplished alumni to engage the students in topics related to investment banking, portfolio management, private equity, crypto currency, real estate, entrepreneurship, and more.

According to Lou Tobacco, Farrell’s president, many leaders in the business and finance arena — including: Pangia; Larry Unrein, ‘74, retired global head of Private Equity at JP Morgan; Jim Quinn, ‘70, retired president of Tiffany & Co., and Mark Sigona, ‘80, CEO of Signature Bank — have already partnered with Farrell to share what they have learned since their time at the school, assisting current students in achieving successful futures.

“Over the past several years, we have invested heavily in modern-day tools to provide our students with the skills and knowledge they will need for college and to be productive members of society,” Tobacco said. 

“The Business & Finance Institute at Monsignor Farrell High School with a Bloomberg Lab is the next tool that will not only open new career paths for our young men to explore, but will enable them to build a sound foundation in financial literacy and the world of business and finance to become strong leaders in their families and communities.” — Lou Tobacco

Tobacco said the school has spent a great deal of time collaborating with university professors and finance professionals to design programs to best leverage this new asset for students.

The Institute’s guest lecture series will run for approximately 18 weeks, launching first as an after-school presentation and interactive demonstration on terminal usage. Open to all students, the primarily alumni-led discussions will cover everything from investment strategies and sales, to trading, corporate governance and personal financial planning. The business of sports and entertainment is also a part of the curriculum, as is residential and commercial real estate investment and development.

Alumni guest lecturers so far have included included:

Bob Pangia '69, Investment Banker, Venture Capitalist, Former Head of Healthcare Investment Banking at Paine Webber, Larry Unrein '74, Asset Manager, Retired Global Head of Private Equity, JP Morgan, Mark Sigona '80, COO (Retired), Signature Bank, Paul Gabos '83, CFO (Retired), Lincare Holdings, Scott DiMaggio '89, Co-Head of Fixed Income, Alliance Bernstein, and Brian Tortorella '93, Private Equity Portfolio Manager, Co-Founder & Managing Member of Fidelis Investors, to name only a few.


But the Institute goes well beyond a lecture series. Credited Bloomberg Certification training classes, a voluntary elective to interested students, will provide a visual introduction to financial markets and the core functionality of the Bloomberg terminal.

“The Bloomberg certification is renowned and makes any candidate for a finance position attractive,” Tobacco said. “It is very specialized and sought after and will give students an edge.”

Students will also invest and trade with real money in this Institute — part of the financial literacy curriculum that will be added to Farrell’s four-year core curriculum starting in the 2022-2023 academic year.

“The Business & Finance Institute is a significant evolution in the curriculum of Monsignor Farrell High School,” noted Larry Unrein, who has played an important role in the Institute’s development. “It will be a great resource not just to students who may have an interest in a career in the financial industry, but to all our students in helping to build a sound foundation in financial literacy.

The far-reaching benefits of this program extend to aiding the school with networking opportunities to bring alumni into the life of the school and leverage their vast knowledge and talents.” — Larry Unrein '74

According to the school, the Business & Finance Institute is one of only two Bloomberg-based programs currently of its size in all of New York City, and the first of its kind on Staten Island. Tobacco said the concept, which was generously funded by alumni in the industry, was born out of a desire and willingness from former Farrell students who have made successful careers in the varied disciplines of business and finance who wanted to give back. Feedback from colleges and universities about what students need to be prepared also contributed to its founding.

On top of supporting curriculum courses in financial literacy, accounting, economics and business, Tobacco said the Business & Finance Institute will serve as the launching pad for extra-curricular programs, including investment clubs and competitions, entrepreneurship workshops, summer business and investment camps, and special programs for local grammar schools and middle schools.

“It’s the mission of Monsignor Farrell to develop the whole man, a person aware of his own God-given talents, confident in his abilities and oriented to the service of others,” Tobacco concluded. “We feel this undertaking places our mission into action — especially since a core principle of this institute will be teaching our ‘Faithful Men’ about the importance of philanthropy and the priority of giving to others.”