Where Are They Now? Melvin Bandell, A.A. ’56
THEN: Up until the day he was drafted in 1951, Melvin Bandell, A.A. ’56, worked at his local A&P food store. After being stationed in Alaska for a year and a half during the Korean War, the U.S. Army veteran and Maryland native returned home and enrolled through the G.I. Bill in the accounting program at the Baltimore College of Commerce.
“When I came back, I didn’t have any skills and I didn’t know what to do,” he says. “I took a test … as a G.I. to figure out what I wanted to do, and they suggested I try accounting.
“I had been away from the books for so long. But … [the college] helped me to plug through.”
Established in 1909 as part of the YMCA school system, the Baltimore College of Commerce was located on the corner of Franklin and Cathedral streets in the former YMCA building, which now serves as the Mount Vernon Hotel. In the late ’60s, the small college and its programs—bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business management and marketing; six associate degrees; and a certificate in accounting—moved to a new campus in Mount Washington before merging with the University of Baltimore in 1973.
“[The college] had what I thought would help [me] do what I needed to do with my future,” he says. “It was a good location, and … 99 percent of the classes were [filled with] G.I.s. You had young ones and old ones.”
After graduating, Bandell literally married the girl next door and joined the accounting department at Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin). Twenty years and several companies later, Bandell turned a booming “side” tax business into his full-time job.
NOW: After four decades as an accountant, Bandell retired to a schedule of occasional tax work, extensive travel (his family has gone on an African safari and on a cruise to Alaska) and full-time grandparenthood. His eldest granddaughter recently married, and the younger two are working toward bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
“I have known clients [who] have never wanted grandchildren, and I can’t imagine my life without them,” says Bandell, who volunteered for 10 years at his granddaughters’ elementary schools. “They are the reason that I get up in the morning.”
While Bandell misses the face-to-face interactions of his longtime accounting career, he appreciates the quiet life he now leads in Nottingham, Md., with his wife of 55 years, Evelyn.
“We [have] lived a simple life, but I’ve been very happy,” he says.
Nicole Reagan is a graduate student in the Publications Design program.