Like many New Yorkers in the 1980s, John Maroon ’87SVC was a big fan of St. John’s University basketball. So it comes as no surprise that when it was time for him to go to college, St. John’s was at the top of his list.
“I wanted to go to a college where I could get a good education, have fun and enjoy watching college sports,” he recalled. “They had great basketball players at St. John’s in the mid-eighties, so that actually was part of the draw for me."
Maroon earned his B.S. in Athletic Administration on the Staten Island campus, where he quickly became comfortable with the small campus environment. The opportunity to get to know so many of his fellow students and develop close relationships with his professors and university administrators made Staten Island the perfect fit for him. When it was time for graduation, one of those relationships got him started on what would become the first steps to a rewarding career.
“One of the deans helped me to get an internship in the headquarters office of Major League Baseball,” he said, “and that led to a full-time position as a public relations assistant in the American League office. Let me tell you, if it weren’t for the people at St. John’s helping me to get that internship, my career would probably have taken an entirely different direction.”
After three years, Maroon left to become the director of media relations for the Cleveland Indians. He subsequently accepted a position as director of public relations for the Baltimore Orioles, followed by a stint as vice president of communications with the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.
St. John’s really resonated with me, and for all kinds of reasons I’m really glad that I went there. It was a great decision for me.”
Maroon celebrated his fortieth birthday in 2006, and decided that the time was right for him to take his career to the next level. Acknowledging a sense of entrepreneurship that he received from his father, one year later he established Maroon PR, a public relations firm in Columbia, MD specializing in sports and entertainment.
“My family has always been very entrepreneurial,” he noted. “My dad started his own business and I think he passed the gene along to his children, because my sister and brother both run their own businesses as well. So I figured that I would take a chance and open my own shop, and it’s been very successful and lots of fun. We’re a full-service agency, which means we do a wide range of things, including marketing, public relations, graphic design, social media and video production. We pretty much do it all. Prior to starting my own firm, my background was primarily in media relations, but to be successful you have to grow with the times.”
His clients include such notable organizations as the Colonial Athletic Association, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hard Rock Café, Catholic Charities and The Cal Ripkin, Sr. Foundation. Like any talented entrepreneur, he enjoys the excitement of generating new business, but what gives him the most pleasure is helping the young people who work for him to become successful in their own careers.
“We have a lot of young people here,” he said, “and I really enjoy watching them succeed when they engineer a big hit for a client. The joy and excitement that I see on their faces is priceless, and that’s very gratifying for me.”
Although he has long since relocated from the New York metropolitan area, Maroon has never lost his connection to St. John’s. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Professional Studies and remains an avid fan of Red Storm basketball. For this loyal alumnus, his relationship with the University that gave him the springboard to a successful and rewarding career will always be an important part of his life.
“My experience at St. John’s was very special,” he said. “When I was a student, everyone at the University really cared about me, and I know that it’s the same way today. St. John’s taught us to care about others, especially the people who are underserved in one way or another. Our firm does a lot of work with non-profit organizations that help others, and that’s important to me personally. It’s a great feeling to give to others, and the more I do it the more I realize that I’m getting as much or more than I’m giving. I give St. John’s a lot of credit for instilling and nurturing those values in all of us.”
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