Gift from Jeff and Wendy Gido aims to help Smeal students succeed in the rapidly growing industry.

As a partner at Goldman Sachs, Smeal alum Jeff Gido has had a front row seat as technology has transformed the financial services industry over the last two decades.

Gido and his wife, Wendy, a fellow Smeal graduate, made a $500,000 gift last year through the Goldman Sachs Gives program to support programs and initiatives that prepare students for careers in the fintech industry.

“When I first started at Goldman Sachs, fintech (financial technology) could mean anything from ATMs to online banking to digitization of certain parts of the value chain,” Jeff Gido says. “New companies were continually sprouting up in this space.”

He adds that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated secular industry trends — things like the conversion of cash payment to electronic forms; digitization of financial services; and the use of data, analytics, and artificial intelligence in financial services, which prompted the couple to consider the future of the industry and how they could help Smeal prepare students to be successful.

The Gidos’ gift is already paying dividends for students in Smeal’s FinTech Group, an organization run by finance students in the college.

According to faculty advisor Stefan Lewellen, the group brought several high-profile guest speakers to campus during the spring semester, including Jeff Gido. They also planned a career trek to New York in April to visit Goldman Sachs and other fintech shops. This fall, they’ll host the first nationwide fintech case competition, asking participants to showcase their best ideas for fintech apps.

“Jeff’s personal interest and involvement in promoting fintech at Smeal is off the charts,” Lewellen says. “In talking to him, it’s clear that he and Wendy really care about educating students about fintech and putting Smeal on the map as a thought leader in the space.

–Anne Louise Cropp