David Solomon, chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs and member of Edgemont High School’s 1980 graduating class, received the Edgemont School Foundation’s first-ever Distinguished Alumni Award at a May 8 ceremony at the high school to commemorate Solomon.
Solomon, who has served as the multibillion dollar banking company’s president and COO since April, described why this hometown award was important to him.
“I had such a wonderful experience growing up in Edgemont, going to the high school and being a part of the community,” Solomon said. “The opportunity to come back to my high school and be recognized is ... quite humbling.”
After graduating from Edgemont High School, Solomon attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where he received a B.A. in political science.
Following his time at Hamilton, he went to work on Wall Street, beginning his career at Irving Trust Co., then moving to Drexel Burnham and Bear Stearns.
In 1999, Solomon joined Goldman Sachs as a partner and spent time in the firm’s trading and banking businesses. He later served as co-head of the company’s investment banking division from July 2006 to December 2016.
As is the case with others in the Edgemont community, Solomon is also a volunteer.
He serves on the board of trustees for the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity in New York City working to improve the standard of living for low-income New Yorkers. In addition, Solomon and Goldman Sachs have worked with Room to Read, an organization dedicated to improving literacy and gender equality in education in developing countries.
“It’s been said that a true measure of a school’s success can be found in the actions, achievements and contributions of its alumni,” Edgemont School Foundation co-chair Adam Friedman said. “The achievements and contributions of [David Solomon] can certainly make Edgemont proud.”
In his spare time, Solomon is an electronic dance music D.J. named DJ D-Sol. You can follow his D.J. exploits on his instagram @djsolmusic.
Solomon told The Inquirer he is aware Edgemont Schools produce some “very accomplished people,” a few of whom graduated with him. He said the district’s résumé of prestigious alumni is a testament to the education Edgemont schools provide.
“This is a fabulous, fabulous public school system,” Solomon said. “It was always a terrific place as a young person to be educated in [both the elementary and junior/senior high school.] I look back on the education I received there, how it prepared me for college and how college built on that education.”
Solomon also noted living in Edgemont and attending the schools are privileges he doesn’t take for granted.
“People who are lucky enough to live in that community and attend that high school, it’s a wonderful thing,” he said. “Not everyone can and I felt very [fortunate] that I was able to.”
He also recalled his favorite thing about growing up in Edgemont.
“It was a small community,” he said. “My high school class had about 125 students and each class had about 125 to 150 students. It was a very tight, very intimate community. I really enjoyed being a part of that. You knew everybody and people took care of each other.”
The Inquirer asked Solomon what about Edgemont helps him now as head of Goldman Sachs.
Solomon said he had some great teachers during his time in the high school. He recalls one English teacher, Hannah Hiel, who had a “profound impact” as he was learning to be a better writer.
“She was a fantastic teacher who affected, at a formative age, my ability to write,” he said. “That helped me when I got to college and I’ve always been a big advocate that communication skills, both written and oral [skills], are super important for people as they go out in the world.”
Solomon also had some words of advice for students currently attending Edgemont High School and those soon to graduate.
“The world’s your oyster if you work hard, if you’re open and if you pursue your passions and your dreams,” he said. “Go out and aspire to be everything you can possibly be.”