Accounting, Class of 1972Dumont, NJ
For the past five decades Sam Ranaudo has been helping families plan for and enjoy their futures. As a chartered financial consultant, Ranaudo takes pride in knowing that his advice has put generations of families through school; has prepared couples for retirement; and has provided for families in some of their most dismal times.
When he was studying accounting at Saint Francis, Ranaudo didn’t know he’d eventually gain such satisfaction from his career. Having a natural interest in business and numbers, he just knew he wanted a profession that would encompass both.
He was determined in his business studies, but also found time to enjoy the other activities college life offered. His interests were varied, and Saint Francis provided him with extracurricular options to explore each outlet. Ranaudo played intramural sports, was a brother and officer of TKE fraternity, and starred in theater productions on campus.
He enjoyed all of his pursuits, but the stage was a place where he particularly shined. He began acting by chance. “I had a class with Kenny Resinski and he suggested I try out for Our Town. I was cast as the narrator. It was my first show and my first acting experience,” remarked Ranaudo. He enjoyed the production immensely and continued to star in plays throughout his college career.
Saint Francis opened him up to his love of acting and the stage. Theater stuck with Ranaudo after graduation. He moved to State College after receiving his degree from Saint Francis, and became involved in its community theater. He starred in shows there for decades and was a member of the community’s theater board for 15 years.
In addition to acting, his profession is another area where Ranaudo took a chance and reaped gains. The New Jersey native, who came to love the beauty of central Pennsylvania, decided to stay in the region after graduation. Newly armed with a business degree from Saint Francis, he moved to State College where he received the opportunity to work as a financial planner. “I thought I’d give it a shot and have been happily with the same firm [Wienken & Associates] ever since,” Ranaudo said.
Part of what Ranaudo loves about his profession is that it provides him the opportunity to interact with people on a daily basis. “I help people identify goals, needs, and objectives. I could retire, but I don’t have the desire. I enjoy coming in, talking to people, solving their problems, and setting them up for a bright future,” remarked Ranaudo.
A lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table (the premier association of financial professionals), Ranaudo has witnessed the financial planning industry comprehensively change since he entered the profession in 1972. “The amount of regulations and compliance to abide by have increased. The biggest change, though, is technology. When I started, there weren’t any computers, fax machines, or cell phones. My tools were a presentation book, pad, and pen. I calculated long-hand and worked the old-fashioned way. Technology has been amazing, with most of it being good and allowing me and others to be more productive,” Ranaudo shared.
Ranaudo’s work has helped three generations of families—in some cases four generations—save and plan for the future. When not busy securing the financial future of his clients, Ranaudo and his wife travel domestically and abroad to visit their children, attend plays and sporting events, and visit the Saint Francis campus. Commented Ranaudo, “As a member of President’s Cabinet, I’m at Saint Francis often. I also enjoy attending events there. They’re fun and are a great way to reconnect with old friends. I’d advise other alumni to visit and do the same."
I have a lot of great memories of Saint Francis. Being in the show Our Town and my theater performances were wonderful. Intramurals were big and we played basketball games in Doyle Hall [now the Museum]. Students packed the hall for the intramural games; it was great fun playing and as a fan.
Kenny Resinski is at the top of list. He introduced me to theater and to the arts. Dr. Furlong, an English literature professor, was also phenomenal. He was a larger than life person and brought the books we read to life. Dr. Zanzuccki is another favorite. He was an icon even back then and gave the business department a very good reputation. Fr. Bede was also great. He had a simple grading system—one mistake was a B, two mistakes a C, etc. His class taught me to pay attention to details.
The quality education. Also, the people—professors and administrators—were good people and were very important in shaping me. I learned the importance of communicating effectively from them. Communicating effectively has helped me in my career because for the better part of five decades I have gone out, met with people, and talked to folks daily. I was involved in theater and it built my courage. I stepped out of Saint Francis and into my professional career with confidence.
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