HONORING A MEMORY
While his peers at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette were enjoying their first bonus day on Wall Street, Jeremy Stoler 97BBA was attending the funeral for his best friend and former Emory classmate, Daniel DeSevo 97C (pictured above). The timing of these two events was not lost on Stoler — in fact, it became a ballast to help him see events clearly afterward.
“It kind of put it in perspective, the money part,” Stoler said. Stoler grew up in Marlboro, New Jersey, the child of a CPA father and homemaker mother. He remembers his parents and grandparents modeling volunteering and selfless behavior for him, and his father — the first in his family to go to college — always “wanting to sleep at night knowing he did the right thing.” Initially, Stoler wanted to teach. When his father explained that the “cool parents” he knew were virtually all attorneys or accountants, Stoler decided to go the business route. While attending Emory, he made his “closest friends for life,” including DeSevo.
“We met during our freshmen year in the dorm," Stoler said. "He lived a couple of towns over from me in Jersey, and he was an all-around amazing person. He treated everyone like they were special. He was a total optimist, always hopeful for people and situations.” When DeSevo lost his battle with leukemia in 2000 at age 24, Stoler was determined to keep his friend’s spirit alive. In his memory, Stoler and fellow Emory classmates created the Daniel DeSevo Scholarship at Goizueta Business School.
“Daniel was a real renaissance man: smart, athletic, a leader and a great person all around,” Stoler told EmoryBusiness.com in 2017. “Our goal is always to find students with those same leadership qualities and an interest in helping others like Daniel did.”
Stoler went on to find great success in real estate finance — including successful tenures at Nomura and Credit Suisse. In 2016, he relocated to Austin, Texas, to work with a client full-time with his real estate business, World Class Holdings. However, one thing has remained constant in Stoler’s life — the memory of his friend “Danny” and his parents’ example to give back to others.
“I used to just give money — giving money is easy,” Stoler said. “I have also found it important to give my time. Donating money is one thing; if I’m an active participant in events, I can get others to donate. I’m not really one for words, I’m one for action.”
He continues to donate his time to charities that touch him, including active fundraising and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald house — which housed his friend’s family when he was sick. “I’ve done bike races for them and our company serves dinner once a month at the Ronald McDonald house in Austin,” he said.
On the topic of charity, Stoler explained, “I don’t think people make it as important as they should. People get so focused on business that they miss what’s important. For me, giving to others helps me manage my own stress. When I think I have problems, I step back and see that I really don’t. It’s a constant process of reminding myself.”