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Alumni Now: Theresa Clark Messer ('82)

Theresa Clark Messer (Accounting, ’82), served as Director of Finance for the National Basketball Players Association for 18 years. She began her career at Peat Marwick & Mitchell, now KPMG, where she obtained her Certified Public Accountant license. After earning her Associate in Accounting degree at BMCC, Messer earned a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from Pace University, and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Long Island University. A member of the BMCC Foundation Board, Messer is Chair of the BMCC Alumni Committee.

Q: What is your favorite memory (professor, class, etc.) of BMCC?
A: When I was a student, the school was located in various office buildings in midtown Manhattan. We would sometimes have to trek through the snow and rain to go from class to class. Shortly after leaving the college, BMCC broke ground for the new campus on Chambers Street. It felt good knowing that the students would soon have a centralized location to attend classes.

Q: How did BMCC help you get where you are today?
A: I started out as a psychology major, but shortly after taking my first psychology class, I re-evaluated what I wanted to do. Math had always been a subject I enjoyed, therefore I chose accounting since it was a field where I would utilize my math and analytical skills. After earning my associate degree at BMCC, I earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) degree in Accounting at Pace University. Upon graduation, I began my accounting career working at Peat Marwick, which later became KPMG. While working at the firm I prepared and earned my CPA license. Later, I completed my MBA at Long Island University.

Q: What advice do you have for today’s BMCC students?
A: I believe that whatever you love doing, you can make a living from it. Determine your goals and create a plan to attain them. Seek out individuals, books, and whatever information you can gather, so you can learn as much as possible about your area of interest. Finding a mentor is key, and you can do that by joining professional organizations in your field. I was a member and officer of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) while at Pace University, and I found mentors and made lifelong friends through my involvement with the organization.

Q: Why is it important for alumni to stay involved with BMCC?
A: Who better to mentor and encourage the next generation, than the alumni. We are the examples of where they can go. I’m sure there are many students who don’t quite know what they can do once they graduate. Alumni who are established in their fields, can mentor current students by sharing the trials, tribulations and rewards they have experienced during their careers.