Former Athlete Spotlight
Q & A with Mark Celeste
Men's Soccer 1977-1980
BS - 1982 School of Pharmacy
How do you feel that your experiences as a student-athlete at the University at Buffalo prepared you for life after college?
Having arrived at UB as a seventeen year old from a small town on the New York/Vermont border not knowing a sole at UB the benefits of being a member of the athletic department became immediately beneficial and educational. On that first day of double sessions two of the upperclassmen and our graduate assistant took me under their wing and invited me to join them for dinner and showed me around campus. The fact that one of those upperclassmen was a team captain while the other was a senior who rarely got the opportunity to play despite being someone who always gave 100% at practice, demonstrated to me the value of true leadership both on and off the field. This is something I have carried with me and tried to emulate throughout my career when bringing in new team members to any organization and in trying to lead by example (thanks Jerry, Dave and Spiderman).
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the benefit of the coaches and staff that took the time to support us both on and off the field (and still do).
What does your connection with the BLOCK B Letter Winners Association mean to you?
First is the ability to maintain and reinitiate contact with old teammates and members of other teams, as well as coaches, training staff and other support staff in the athletic department that were such good friends and supporters during my student years. On top of that, there is the continued reminder and source of pride that I was lucky enough to be included in the small percentage of students that earn the distinction of being a BLOCK B member and sharing in the pride associated with watching the athletic programs grow and become even more successful.
As a BLOCK B member, what would you suggest/recommend to other former student-athletes who have yet to join this elite group of supporters?
I would suggest that you take the opportunity to reconnect with those that we were so close to during our days on campus. As you will find that not only are they still good friends but also valuable supporters in our lives and professional careers.
What did you find most enjoyable about the (Homecoming 20007) reunion event you attended?
Sal Esposito and Mark Celeste
During the event I not only had the opportunity to meet with my old teammates but to meet with the guys on the 1977 to 1981 football teams that we shared a locker room with. The opportunity to attend practice and to meet both Coach Gill and Athletic Director Warde Manuel and tour the new facilities when I arrived Thursday afternoon were the highlights of my visit.
Most memorable moment/event as a UB student-athlete?
A 2-1 win over Div I, 7th ranked Cleveland State in my freshman year on the Div III men’s soccer team, and the honor of being named athlete of the week that week (something that did not happen on a weekly basis back then). What made the win most memorable was the drive and excitement of my teammates who had been there for the 13-0 loss the previous year.
I started a generic pharmaceutical manufacturing operation in China about 18 months ago after spending the previous 18 months developing the business plan and traveling around China to identify viable existing factories and raising money through private equity firms. Now I split my time between China (80%) and my home in Fort Worth, TX. I also get to sneak out to my home in Pinehurst, NC on rare occasions to visit my parents who sometimes take a break there from snow bound Glens Falls, NY, and to play a bad round of golf.
Although I have never been married and have no children, I am lucky enough to spend much of my time in Fort Worth learning new things. Mostly, about horses and cows from my girlfriend and her nine year old son.