Brian Marino: Why I Give Back to Kent State University


Brian Marino recently hosted a networking event for Kent State University’s College of Business Administration at Skylight’s Rooftop Bistro.  We caught up with Brian, Financial Planner in our Cleveland office, who was recently appointed as president of the University’s Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors.

As Brian, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2001 from Kent State, begins his two year term, we find out why serving in a leadership role on the board means so much to him.

What motivated you to first get involved in the Alumni Association?

A little over seven years ago I was nominated for the National Alumni Board by a friend that was currently serving and he suggested I consider joining.  After learning more about the opportunity, it seemed to be a great fit.  I saw it as a great way to give back to the University which had given me so much and helped set me up in such a successful career.  I initially committed to 3 years but fast forward, and after serving on the board for over 6 years as Treasurer, VP, President Elect, I became President on July 1.  It’s an honor to be President of this twenty-one person national board which is made up numerous leaders in their fields, who all give a great deal of time and energy to strengthen the connection between the alumni and the University.

Why do you feel it’s so important to stay connected to Kent State?

I had such an amazing time when I was at Kent State - academically, socially and athletically (where I was fortunate enough to play for the universities ice hockey team).  It’s a big part of who I am and my experiences there have really shaped the person I am today.  I feel very strong ties to Kent State and want to continue to be part of it and see other young people enjoy the kind of experience I had.  I also want to see the University continue to grow and the Alumni board is a dynamic and exciting group of alumni which contributes a great deal to the University’s success and future. It’s great to see KSU constantly evolving and that it has changed so much for the positive from when I was there almost 15 years ago.

What kinds of events and activities to you and Alumni Board get involved in to help alumni reconnect with each other and the University?

For the 222,000+ alumni there’s so many events and programs that run throughout the year – networking events, galas and social programs which help people connect.  We have everything from ice skating, wine tasting, pre-game tailgates to the National Alumni Day of Service.  Also our 30+ alumni chapters also hold events around the country and keep the Golden Flash spirit alive. 

Homecoming is the big event of the year.  It runs over a weekend and hundreds of alumni come back to campus to enjoy awards, games, parties and the Homecoming Parade.  It’s a great time and there’s a real sense of community and excitement, along with bringing back some great memories.

As a board member I also have the opportunity to be involved at a strategic level and am approached by different offices within the University to leverage my opinions and tap into my expertise to help them plan for the future.  I’ve also gotten involved over the years in helping students who reach out for help with things like interview skills and mentoring in helping them to make good decisions in their career path.

What have you personally got out of being part of the Alumni board?

Personally, it’s been a great way for me to continue to grow as a person.  You need to have lots of energy, passion and expertise to make the most out of being on the board.  I’ve expanded my horizons and my skill set by exploring and embracing a role that I previously hadn’t done.  While I’ve reconnected with old friends, I’ve also met so many new people and made new friendships and business connections. 

It’s just such a great experience and I’ve formed an even deeper connection with the University.  KSU has grown tremendously in the short time I’ve been involved, and I feel very proud that I’ve been able to play a small part in that growth.

To find out more about the Kent State University Alumni Association and events please visit

Brian Marino is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. OSJ: 2012 W. 25th Street, Suite 900, Cleveland OH 44113. 216-621-5680


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