NEW YORK – Call him a Big Chip off the Old Block, because John Catsimatidis, Jr., – following the successful footsteps of his billionaire businessman father – has been named one of the 10 Most Influential students at New York University.
Now officially a Big Man On Campus, Catsimatidis Jr. has also shown he can stand on his own, having differed with his father – who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for New York Mayor – over the New York Governor’s race. Dad, breaking with his party, sided with Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo while son went with the GOP nominee Rob Astorino, who got beat bad.
Catsimatidis Jr. is a 21-year-old junior at NYU’s Stern School of Business where presumably he’ll learn as much as his father did in the real world of business, amassing a fortune in real estate and other holdings.
The NYU News wrote of the top 10 that, “They are the ones taking action, the ones speaking out for themselves and on behalf of other students. They have evolved university life, expanding the power of the student voice and providing a space for all students.”
He was also called, “A small, red dot of conservatism at arguably one of the most liberal schools in the country,” having served as President of the NYU College Republicans since 2013.
A profile of him showed his versatility and open-mindedness. “Catsimatidis has dedicated himself to overcoming any liberal bias or negative views of Republicans. When someone starts to attack Republican ideals, his goal is to delve deeper into their beliefs and knowledge. He tries to help the person understand the conservative stance, as he believes understanding both sides of a political argument is key to progress,” the News wrote.
Catsimatidis Jr. had his own answer. “If someone learned everything about Republicans and everything about Democrats and chose to be a Democrat, I would still be the happiest guy in the world,” he said. “I want to make sure that people realize that we’re not just, as my sister would call it, ‘the old fogey Republican,’ or whatever the media outlet that they’re following at the time portrays.”
Megan Powers, Vice President of the NYU College Republicans, described Catsimatidis as both one of the most intelligent yet patient people she knows, and she attributes his success to these qualities.
“It is not us versus them, and it never has been,” Powers said. “John’s main focus is getting people involved. He chose not to isolate our group and instead tried to make it accessible to the student body at large.”
He attributed his achievements so far to his parents typical of his Greek-American heritage. “My parents always told me I could do whatever I like to do and never pushed me in a certain direction,” Catsimatidis Jr told The News. “I can always go to my mom for advice, for love, for family. And from my dad I learned how to pursue the American dream, and how to have a strong work ethic.”
Starting his sophomore year, Catsimatidis chose to live at home with his parents, citing what he called the wisdom and company of his family and his mom’s great cooking.
Despite a close relationship with his father, Catsimatidis is not planning to immediately pursue a career in the public sector by running for office. For the time being, he plans to focus on the private sector and creating jobs.
“I’ll never run for office just to run,” Catsimatidis said. “Only if I can truly add value to the system, I’ll definitely run.”