Meet the incoming SUAA president
Born and raised in Central New York, Mark Verone ’95 always had plenty of Orange pride. And while Chicago has been home for more than 15 years, his ties to Syracuse University keeping growing stronger.
As president-elect of the Syracuse University Alumni Association (SUAA) board of directors, Verone’s term starts July 1, 2015, and he looks forward to his new role. He’ll also serve as an ex officio member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees.
“This year marks 20 years since my graduation from Syracuse University. While many things have changed on campus and in our lives, careers, and the world, the one thing that ties us all together is our common Orange bond,” Verone says. “I’m thrilled and honored to serve as an ambassador to more than 250,000 living alums spread across the globe.”
Verone’s commitment to the SUAA board began in 2009, and he’s served as vice president for the past two years. But the University’s wider alumni base may not realize the full extent of his Syracuse involvement—particularly in the Chicago area. In addition to his SUAA board responsibilities, Verone has been a member of the Chicago Regional Council since 2012. And for the past 13 years Verone and his wife, Dr. Rachelle Hardy ’95 (a College of Engineering and Computer Science graduate), have hosted Chicago’s New Student Send-Off at their home, welcoming first-year students and their families to the Syracuse community. For them, it’s a personal way to carry on a tradition that kicked off their own positive SU experiences.
“My wife made what’s become a lasting friendship at her own freshman send-off, so this event has special significance for us,” Verone says. “It’s a great way for Syracuse to make an impression on incoming students and their families, letting them know we have a strong SU community right in Chicago.”
The Orange connection even comes into play for Verone and Hardy, who met in 1999 at an event hosted by the SU Alumni Club of Chicago (then Windy City Orange). A Chicago native, Hardy had returned home after graduation to attend dental school; Verone had just moved to the city through a job transfer.
“When I came to Chicago, I didn’t know many people and figured the alumni club would be a great resource to make some connections,” Verone says. “Rachelle and I graduated at the same time, but we didn’t know each other at Syracuse. The club is what brought us together and introduced us to some wonderful friends who share our Orange pride.”
Verone shares his Orange pride in the workplace too. He serves as Vice President of Global Marketing & Product Operations and Services for Gogo, a global leader of in-flight connectivity and a pioneer in wireless in-flight digital entertainment solutions. During spring break 2015, Verone welcomed 16 students from Syracuse’s School of Information Studies (iSchool) to Gogo’s offices as part of Data by the Lake, an advanced data science course and Chicago’s first immersion experience. Students toured the company, discussed data analysis, and gained insight on how some organizations handle the challenges surrounding “big data.”
Before joining Gogo in 2011, Verone spent six years as director of partner marketing operations for Orbitz Worldwide, where he managed a global team of advertising operations specialists and held various roles in radio marketing and promotion and interactive digital media. He earned a telecommunications management degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and began his career at Syracuse-based radio stations WJPZ-FM, WSYR-AM and Y94FM before moving to the Midwest.
“Everything I’ve done in my career can be tied back to Syracuse University, but it means so much more than that. Many of my closest relationships and most rewarding endeavors stem from Syracuse, and there are countless other alumni with stories like mine,” Verone says. “That’s why it’s so important to stay connected and support the University. I’m very proud of the robust SU community we’re building in Chicago, and honored to lead the whole alumni association in creating similar opportunities.”