Bennett Marano ’12 met his Geneseo family on day one. They’ve relied on each other ever since.

By Bennett Marano ’12

It was transfer student move-in day at Geneseo, a freezing cold afternoon in mid-January, where I met my core group of friends—now my chosen family—for the first time.

We had all been deferred admission, forced to wait until the second half of the academic year to begin our journeys at Geneseo. As disappointing as the deferral had been initially, when I look back now, I realize just how lucky we were. Not only did it put all of us in the right place at the right time, but it gave us something to bond over from the start. It was the first in a long line of falling dominoes that would lead us to the relationship we have today.

If getting deferred was the first domino, then all of us getting assigned to live in Seneca Hall was the next. I remember the building smelled like a new car; the College had just finished construction on it a few months prior.

It wasn’t long before Seneca began to feel like home. I don’t think we realized in those early days that it would become the backdrop for so many of our core memories as a group—from all-nighters in the conference room to hours of playing our beloved dice game in the fourth-floor lounge. We developed a strong, early connection as a core group. Days turned into weeks, into months, and the next thing I knew these people had become my second family.

Over the years, we developed special traditions, including an annual springtime outing to Letchworth State Park, where we barbecued and jumped into the river, and multiple trips to Mississippi to support Hurricane Katrina relief effort with Livingston CARES. My personal favorite was our end-of-the-year paper plate award ceremony. We’d vote on categories like who of the group was the best dressed (an award none of us should’ve been eligible for in any capacity).

By graduation, it was like we had known each other our entire lives. We had to move on from Geneseo, but it was clear there was no escaping each other. We still talk every day, 11 years later.

We have a group text thread that goes all day long. I wouldn’t wish the notifications on my worst enemy, but that’s why we have the “Do Not Disturb” setting. We say good morning and good night. Every day. We’re annoying, but we’re so lucky.

The group has evolved over the years. We’ve had marriages, added plus-ones and babies. We still set aside dedicated time to be together as our Seneca group every year on a week-long trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It’s one week a year that we all get to be together, appreciate each other, and be reminded of just how obnoxious we can be when confined to one house.

I’m forever grateful to Geneseo and the universe for sticking us together back on that freezing cold January day, and in turn giving each of us a chosen family for life.


Bennett Marano ‘12 is a marketing lead for a tech company in New York City, where he’s been living for the last 11 years.

Bennett Marano '12 and his friends on the Outer Banks beach

The 2023 Outer Banks crew (in bold) and Geneseo best friends and their “plus ones:” Bottom row, from left to right: Akash Kumar, Luigi Ramos, Kerry Haugh ’12, Tyler Nock, and Bennett Marano ’12. Middle row, from left to right: Samantha Hatz ’12, Casey Sears ’12, Kate Murphy ’12, Dominick Ciruzzi ’12 and Greg Lewis. Back row, from left to right: Kim Boland ’12, Jake Beaver, and Andrew Foley ’12. Not pictured: Amanda Stanek Leonard ’11 and Emily Timmons Peterson’12 /Photo provided by Bennett Marano ’12