Stephen E. Bepler, FCRH ’64
Senior Vice President, Capital Research Company
When it was time to choose a college, Stephen Bepler felt the pull of Fordham. His older brother and two uncles had studied there. Also, he had studied under the Jesuits in prep school and high school, and found that their way of teaching had grown on him.
Rather than “cram things down,” he said, the Jesuits conveyed knowledge through a Socratic, question-and-answer method that required students to examine ideas closely and thoroughly.
“They really taught you how to think and reason, and how to present your ideas to people,” he says.
His time at Fordham was busy—he played intramural basketball and joined the glee club while working six days a week to pay the bills. During one of his jobs, at the old Metropolitan Opera on Broadway, he found ways to sneak in some study time.
“There were a lot of slow spots where you could go out in the hallway and do your homework,” he says.
After graduating from Fordham in 1964 with a degree in Latin and Greek, he earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University and went to work as an investment adviser. Today, he is a senior vice president with Capital Research Global Investors, where he has worked since 1972 in a variety of roles, practicing steady and honest stewardship that has created investment security for thousands of clients.
In navigating the uncertainties of the investment world, he has gained new appreciation for his undergraduate education. At Fordham, he says, “they gave you a methodology for beginning to examine any question, any problem,” especially the ones for which there is seldom “one perfect answer.”
“That’s a very good intellectual framework to continue your education after college,” he says.
Education remains close to his heart. He serves as trustee of Washington Theological Union, Barnard College, Cristo Rey New York High School and Fairfield University.
At Fordham, he and his wife, Kim, have contributed to numerous scholarship funds and endowed two faculty chairs: the Karl Rahner, S.J., Chair in Theology, and the John D. Boyd, S.J., Chair in Poetry, the latter in memory of Steve’s favorite English professor at Fordham.
He has also served on the Fordham Board of Trustees, and takes pride in the University’s upward trajectory.
“There's been a tremendous amount of progress in the last 10 years in Fordham’s standing in the academic world and reputation among current and potential students. So that’s been thrilling to be a part of, and to observe.”