What does it mean to be Syracuse Alumni?

Originally posted at the “SU is US” SUAA President’s Blog: http://suaapresident.com/2014/07/21/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-syracuse-alumni/

What does it mean to be Syracuse Alumni?

July 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

It is with great pride and respect that I would like to introduce my friend, Mark Verone, as a guest blogger. Mark was elected President-Elect of the Syracuse University Alumni Association (SUAA) last month, and he will officially take over as President on July 1, 2015. Thank you, Mark, for all that you do for our alma mater. The future of the SUAA is in great hands…


What does it mean to be Syracuse Alumni?

By: Mark Verone ’95 NEW & President-Elect

Growing up in East Syracuse, New York meant that SU was always this magical place on a hill where young people and experienced educators cultivated a new crop of alums. I never imagined that one day I would be one of those alums, and I hadn’t pondered the concept while I was attending Syracuse. Maybe I avoided the idea because it signaled that the end was in sight – the idea that school was over. After 21 years of structured learning the end was near and it was time to “grow up” and start my life. Syracuse University had always served as my safety blanket. I admit that I felt a deep sadness after graduation. Sadness about my next step in life, a new chapter that involved financial independence and freedom to make decisions about my career and to shape my life outside the safety zone of college. I was officially a Syracuse University graduate and was fortunate to have a good job lined up out of college. However, the concept of being an alumnus had not quite settled in yet. Maybe it was fear or maybe I managed to surround myself with an SU Safety Blanket to ease my transition.

Nineteen years ago, I officially started my career in New York City. I was living in a 5th floor walk-up apartment on the upper east-side that I shared with friends that made-up my first SU Safety Blanket. I was living with my college buddy Jordan and his girlfriend at the time, also an SU alum. Then there was a small network of my fraternity Brothers Roger, Peter and a whole cast of characters that were starting our lives in the Big Apple. Sure we hung out at the Lubin House on Thursday nights for “must see” TV and SU priced drinks in the former lounge. We also made sure that first fall after graduation to drive upstate for homecoming. We even made occasional weekend trip to visit friends who were still finishing their junior and senior year at SU. Sure, I was no longer a student, but I surrounded myself with that SU Safety Blanket in NYC.

Even when I moved back to Syracuse to work for WSYR, my connection to SU was part of my job. My SU Safety Blanket provided me with a paycheck to hang out on campus for SU football and basketball games. When I moved to Lexington, KY, it was hard to keep my SU Safety Blanket alive in Wildcat country, but I still had a shrine in my apartment. It was much easier when my career took me to Chicago. This time my SU Safety Blanket introduced me to my wife Rachelle. It was four years after I graduated and career moves that located me in the mid-west before I realized what it means to be a Syracuse Alumnus. CONNECTIONS! As alumni, we all have a common connection to SU and a unique bond to each other. While we all experienced SU at different times and with different people, we all share this common bond. These connections are a collection of lifelong experiences and memories that cannot be broken. These days Social Media has enhanced the way I stay connected to my SU Network of friends – it has become my Digital Safety Blanket.

Nineteen years ago, I would not have dreamt of being on the national SU Alumni board, let alone serving as President-Elect. My current SU Safety Blanket involves being part of a group of dedicated SU ambassadors for 250K living alumni around the globe. I am honored to serve this global community as a voice and champion for all SU Alumni. The SU Alumni Association Board of Directors is an outstanding and diverse collection of mission-minded alumni and I am proud to have them as my SU Safety-Blanket. There is still time to make some SU connections with SUccess in the City Orange Networking events in Atlanta, South Florida, Chicago and San Francisco along with an Alumni Networking event in Denver.

About Mark Verone:

Mark is a 1995 graduate of the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Mark started his career in the radio business where he held key marketing roles at Metromedia International, Cox Radio, Jacor Broadcasting, Clear Channel Radio, and Point-To-Point Marketing. At Clear Channel, he pivoted his career and transitioned to digital advertising operations which led to a global Partner Marketing Operations role at Orbitz Worldwide and his current position running Advertising Operations and Content Management for Gogo, a global leader of in-flight connectivity and a pioneer in wireless in-flight digital entertainment solutions. Mark and his wife Rachelle, (also an alum), are very active in the SU Alumni community. Mark currently serves as President-Elect of the national Syracuse University Alumni Association Board of Directors and hosts the Chicago area sendoff event for new students. Mark resides in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago with his wife and their two sons. 6 and a 1/2 year old Andrew’s safety blanket is a stuffed Piglet and 2 and a 1/2 year old Christopher is a stuffed Winnie the Pooh.

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