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Band of Brothers

Four Friends Team Up to Make Significant Contribution

Brian Gerson, A89, remembers being amazed by his professors’ ability to distill complex mathematical concepts into simple proofs and formulas.

James Bartlett, A89, AG89, wrote his thesis on the economic impact of the greenhouse effect before most economists were paying attention to the issue.

Fotis Hasiotis, A89, talked about the Cold War with students in Moscow by teleconference and in person as part of the Global Classroom Project.

Brad Bernstein, A89, helped bring the top witness against the Medellin drug cartel to campus for a symposium on the war on drugs.

Tufts served as a springboard for these four alumni, who have enjoyed successful careers in finance since graduation. “All of us have thrived, in no small part thanks to our experience at Tufts, and we’re appreciative of that,” says Bernstein, a partner with FTV Capital.

Everyone Counts

Inspired by their 25th reunion, the four friends have established the Class of 1989 Endowed Scholarship Fund. Each has committed $125,000. The fund will be matched through the university’s current Financial Aid Initiative for a starting value of $1 million. “We all liked the idea that by combining forces, we could do something larger and more meaningful than we could do on our own,” says Bernstein.

They also were unanimous in wanting the fund to have their class’s name on it rather than their own. Bartlett sums up the group’s feelings this way, “Being able to turn our loyalty into something that’s good for the institution is the best way we can give back.”

Bartlett, now president of LS Power Equity Advisors, and Gerson met on the first day of their freshman year, when both were assigned to Hodgdon Hall. By sophomore year, the four friends were members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. “None of us knew what we wanted to do at the time, but we all wanted to do well,” says Hasiotis, head of European Financial Sponsors Group for Lazard Freres, based in London. All four moved to New York City after graduation and compared notes as they started interviewing with financial services firms.

Lifelong Experience

Gerson believes the lessons he learned at Tufts guide him to this day, including advice from Professor Sol Gittleman to treat learning as a lifelong experience. “On Wall Street, where you must constantly evaluate new ideas and information, it’s especially important to always embrace learning,” he says.

For 25 years, their friendship has thrived along with their careers. Still getting together about once a month, they’ve attended each other’s weddings and their children’s christenings and bar mitzvahs. Bartlett, who married Sonja Weinkopf, J90, was the best man in Hasiotis’s wedding. “These friends are like my brothers, my family,” says Gerson.