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    Photo Michael Madden

    September 15, 2021

    Championing the Goodness in Greatness

    Michael Madden ’71 is the managing partner and co-founder of the private equity investment firm BlackEagle Partners. He is also among Le Moyne’s most dedicated and generous alumni. Mike served on the College’s board of trustees for 14 years, including four years as chairman. He has graciously shared his time and talent with his alma mater. The Madden School of Business is named in his honor. 

    What is your idea of perfect happiness?
    While I’m not sure anything can be “perfect,” my loved ones being healthy and happy, the world at peace and one of my horses winning the Belmont Stakes would come pretty darn close!

    Which living person do you most admire?
    The person I most admire passed away at the age of 107. Albert H. Gordon was the modern founder of Kidder, Peabody & Co. and served as my mentor when I joined the Wall Street firm in 1973. He taught me tenacity, generosity and humility (most of the time). When he saw me on the elevator he would always ask if I was exercising, eating right and still off the cigarettes. Later, he made sure to ask if I was giving enough money away since that was much more satisfying than hoarding it or spending on frivolous pursuits. To keep perspective, he would often remind me “that even the mighty eagle has to come down to Earth and take a drink once in a while.”

    What is the greatest act of generosity you have ever witnessed?
    When I read about people donating their organs to complete strangers in need, I am amazed at their unselfishness in putting themselves at risk for some other life. I wish I had that courage.

    Do you think philanthropy is learned or born in people?
    I believe philanthropy is learned. It comes from recognizing how much you have been given, realizing how much your help can mean to others and appreciating the example of so many generous people who have paved the way before you.

    For example, Lynn and Kate McMartin and I started the Center for Aging Resources and Enrichment (C.A.R.E.) at Le Moyne three years ago. We saw the need of many seniors for healthcare, education and spiritual renewal and I have been very gratified to see the difference it has made in people’s lives.

    What is your most treasured possession?
    The strength and lasting nature of my relationships.

    What is your most marked characteristic?
    The ability to listen and solve problems.

    What is something that you wish more people understood about what it means to be generous?
    I wish people could appreciate how much satisfaction and pleasure one derives from seeing the benefits of giving and helping change the outcome for others. To that end, if you can, it’s a lot better to give while you are alive to see it than wait until you are dead.

    What is your personal motto?
    My motto is: FSD
    Focus on what you want to accomplish
    Sequence the moves you need to make it happen
    Determination to never give up until the goal is achieved

    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
    I wish I could be more patient and tolerant of personalities and behavior that don’t necessarily match my own.


    *Note: this feature appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of the college magazine, New Heights

    Category: Alumni in Action