Leading the pack and part of the team

By Andrea O'Neill '06

Joseph Catanzaro ‘88 Came to Bloomsburg University by way of Huskies Baseball and found a niche in economics and financial planning. Now, he helps other student-athletes find theirs as an alumni presenter for the College of Liberal Arts and one of the many coordinators for  the Baseball Professional Engagement Night.

Joseph Catanzaro ‘88 Came to Bloomsburg University by way of Huskies Baseball and found a niche in economics and financial planning. Now, he helps other student-athletes find theirs as an alumni presenter for the College of Liberal Arts and one of the many coordinators for  the Baseball Professional Engagement Night.

“I wanted to play baseball,” said Catanzaro, who was undeclared until an economics professor captured his attention. “I remember that class

Joe Catanzaro

with Pete Bohling distinctly. [He] really brought the material to life.  He helped me understand economics and set the stage for what I do today.”

Catanzaro found himself gravitating toward economics and business, picking up valuable study skills along the way. Eventually, he pledged to Lambda Chi Alpha, of which Bohling was the advisor.  

 “I pledged because of him,” said Catanzaro, who said he forced himself to read the daily newspaper cover to cover to improve his reading comprehension skills. “Going to see [Bohling] and get his help during office hours was invaluable.”

During his senior year, Catanzaro had successfully interviewed with and was offered a job by Prudential as a sales associate but decided to work for his father in the family insurance business. Later, however, he expanded his role to include financial planning. He says a lot of his success, and consequently, his desire to give back stems from playing Husky baseball.

“Being on a team and the accountability and responsibility to my teammates helped me to grow my leadership role,” said Catanzaro. “I was just one piece of the puzzle. We stayed united as a team and are still in touch with each other regularly.”

Catanzaro says he stayed involved with his alma mater early on as “another set of eyes” for the coaching staff to refer players to the baseball program. He also attended alumni games and golf outings, which led to a conversation about hosting a job shadow student.

“I enjoyed it tremendously,” Catanzaro said of his experience with job shadow student, Sergio Rodriguez.  “It was like coaching, and he was like a sponge, just wanting to learn.”

That shadow hosting experience led to an invitation to be on an economics alumni panel for the Careers in Social Sciences and Humanities Conference, or CASSHCON.  Then, another idea from current head baseball coach, Mike Collins, for an annual team evening that connects current players with Husky Baseball alumni and provides professional development, resume reviews, and networking practice. The idea evolved into the Baseball Professional Engagement Night, and after three years and a global pandemic, it continues to involve Husky alumni and connect them with current students.

“In listening to the feedback from Coach Collins and the players, we see it’s a phenomenal opportunity for those players,” said Catanzaro, who proudly points out the alumni contingent from the 1980s is the largest, and the sponsors of a scholarship explicitly designed for Husky baseball players. “What’s nice to see is that the younger alumni group continues to grow.  The current players see what we are doing and feel an obligation to repay it in some way.”

Volunteering and giving back is, as Catanzaro calls it, “a great time“ and something he will continue to do in the foreseeable future.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from coaching, and really you’re just coaching someone along with your experience,” explained Catanzaro. “It’s just giving back to something that meant a lot to us.”
 

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