St. Bonaventure will welcome alumnus Thomas M. Marra, president and chief executive officer of Symetra Financial Corporation and a former university trustee, as the 2015 guest of the Building Extraordinary Leaders series.
His Feb. 19-20 visit to St. Bonaventure will include several open presentations to the campus community, as well as small group discussions. The Building Extraordinary Leaders program is a new leadership series sponsored by St. Bonaventure’s Class of 1963 and organized by the Student Affairs division. Now in its second year, the series brings industry and community frontrunners to campus and highlights diverse perspectives.
Marra, a member of the Class of 1980, is president and chief executive officer of Symetra Financial Corporation and its insurance subsidiaries, as well as a member of the company’s board of directors.
He joined the diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Wash., in 2010 with more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry.
The Jamestown native is a graduate of Southwestern High School.
Marra earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics at St. Bonaventure and began his career in 1980 at The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. as an actuarial student. While at The Hartford, he held increasingly senior positions, most recently as president and chief operating officer of the parent company. He also served as president and chief operating officer of Hartford Life, Inc., where he drove innovation and expansion of products, distribution, service and operations.
In October 2011, Marra was inducted into the Insured Retirement Institute Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions and leadership in the insured retirement industry.
Athletics has been a huge part of Marra’s life and college career. He was a third baseman under longtime Bonnies coach Fred Handler. Major university gifts from Marra led to the development of a new field-turf baseball complex, which opened in 2006, and a jump-start to the athletics fields project, which recently celebrated completion of the multi-purpose field that is home to the Bonnies’ soccer, women’s lacrosse and rugby teams. Following the completion of the first phase of that complex, the area was named The Tom ’80 and Michelle Marra Athletics Fields Complex in recognition of Marra and his wife, Michelle.
In 2011, Marra was elected to the board of directors of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, which helps teach life skills to disadvantaged youth through baseball- and softball-themed programs. He and his wife also became owners of the Mystic (Conn.) Schooners baseball team in March 2013. The team is a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
A member of St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2012, Marra is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.
Schedule of Events:
Thursday, February 19
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Faculty and Staff Forum
University Club, Magnano Centre
“Taking the Risk: A Journey from Bona’s to CEO”
2:30–3:30 p.m. Presentation and Q & A for students
Auditorium of the William F. Walsh Science Center
“The Art and Science of Leadership”
6–8:30 p.m. Dinner and Keynote Leadership Address Doyle Dining and Trustees Rooms “Managing from the Heart: Let Your Values Define You as a Leader” (invitation only)
Friday, February 20
Class visit: Introduction to Entrepreneurship
School of Business class presentation
12–1 p.m. Luncheon with student-athletes and coaches
Athletics Hall of Fame Room, Reilly Center
“Mentorship and Teamwork: The Foundation of Leadership” (invitation only)
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #3 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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