Building Upon Stevens’ Name Recognition
Steven I. Bandel ’74 came from Venezuela to Stevens after receiving a scholarship sponsored by the country’s Exxon Corporation, at the time called Creole/Esso. Now, he is giving back by supporting university priorities at Stevens, namely the University Center Complex (UCC).
“I left Venezuela without knowing much about Stevens, and I ended up loving it,” he said. “The education was amazing. It’s even greater now. I credit my success to Stevens, and I wanted to give back.”
Bandel, who will celebrate his 50th reunion in 2024, serves on the President’s Leadership Council. He said he is impressed with the rising progress of the university under President Nariman Farvardin’s leadership. He was inspired to make his gift to support the UCC as it helps bolster Stevens’ name recognition.
The UCC, which comprises two residence hall towers and a university center, is the tallest building on campus. The Stevens sign on top of the South Tower measures 450 square feet and can be seen from the west side of Manhattan. Bandel wants to help build upon Stevens’ recognition in the tri-state region by helping to further elevate the university’s brand awareness throughout the U.S. and globally.
He is the retired co-chairman and CEO of the Cisneros Group, one of the most successful conglomerates in South America, with holdings in media, entertainment, telecom, tourism, real estate and consumer products. In 2017, Bandel received the International Achievement Award, which recognizes Stevens alumni for their significant achievements abroad.
During his 32 years with the Cisneros Group, Bandel helped spearhead the organization’s growth and development. As CEO, he was responsible for the deployment of DIRECTV Latin America and AOL Latin America in 23 countries, and the operation of business that includes supermarkets, telecommunications, consumer goods, fast food chains and media across the region. He currently serves on several corporate and nonprofit boards.
Bandel earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in electronic and electrical engineering from Stevens and a master’s degree in business administration with high honors from the Institute of Advanced Management Studies (IESA) in Venezuela.
As an undergraduate, he was active with the Stevens Latin American Club and remains close with his fellow members. He fondly recalls how Stevens taught him to think in unconventional ways.
“All the classes were focused on engineering, with problem solving and creative thinking,” Bandel said. “When I became a businessperson, I applied that thinking to my decisions. I was always thinking out of the box and trying different solutions. I still do that to this day.”
“I hope students, like me, will have the opportunity to be as successful as I was in my career,” he said. “It’s becoming a complex world, especially for younger people, and they need training to be prepared for the future. I think Stevens is very in tune with that.”