Mike Parizino never imagined he’d find himself where he is today. A State Champion hurdler and finalist in the MN State High School Track Tournament in both his junior and senior year, as well as a 4-year football and basketball player at Saint Agnes, the first memories that come to his mind when looking back on his Aggie days were the camaraderie of the football team, the mental toughness taught by Coach John Heller and the homecoming festivities. He also fondly remembers the head cheerleader from St. Bernard’s! Dating someone from the arch-rival school could get a boy in serious trouble with his friends, and though he kept the relationship hidden as long as possible, he couldn’t deny his feelings and the Bulldog cheerleader eventually became his wife. With four grown children and a successful business, Mike and Mary Parizino decided it was time to give back.
One of Mike’s favorite teachers in high school was Mr. Joe Silvia. Not only was Mr. Silvia a good teacher, but he found the senior year business class material very interesting. It was also the first investment Mike ever made. Each member of the class brought in $10 and researched companies in which they could invest. Though Mr. Silvia had always helped the students make profitable choices, the market didn’t cooperate that year and the stock the class had purchased saw a loss in value. Feeling badly, Mr. Silvia bought the stock from the kids and took the hit himself. The sign of a dedicated teacher.
After graduation, Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in business and finance from St. Thomas University and quickly landed a job with St. Paul Companies writing surety bonds for contractors. A few years later he moved to Philadelphia, attended the master’s program at Villanova and was employed by Cigna Insurance Co. A relocation landed him in California where he has lived since 1990. He eventually left the insurance side and became a broker, writing policies for large contractors such as major hospitals, bridge projects (Stillwater bridge and I-35W bridge), and sports stadiums. He became a partner in a private equity company about nine years ago.
As his career and investments improved and his children grew into adulthood, he realized it was time to give back to those who helped him get to where he is today. He credits Saint Agnes School, its teachers, and the life-long friends he made there, to be at the top of the list. He and his wife proceeded to set up a donor advised charitable giving account.
It was both his love for athletics and his high-school friendships that steered him toward investing in the athletic department at Saint Agnes. He had been gathering his buddies to play in the Aggie Open golf tournament for a number of years and invited them to relive the glory days at his Wisconsin cabin. When reminiscing about the number of talented athletes Saint Agnes produced in the late 70 and 80s, and the lack of equipment and enviable uniforms, Mike decided that is where he would like to show his support. He vividly remembers showing up at the State high school track meet, along with the Saint Agnes relay team, in baggy gray sweatpants. Looking around at the other big schools with their matching track jacket and pant sets, bags, and footwear made him conscious of just how little the Saint Agnes athletes had. By race time, all the schools ended up stripping down to similar shorts and t-shirts, but the image of those fancy track suits made an impression.
Mike has great respect for Saint Agnes Athletic Director Mike Streitz and the work he has done over the last 15 years and wanted to support those efforts. He has made a $250,000 commitment, paid over 10 years, to be the major sponsor of the Aggie Open Golf Tournament in support of Aggie athletics and is directing those funds to be used for uniform upgrades, specialty equipment, and other items that may be outside the athletic budget.
“I have no plans to retire any time soon and I am thankful for the success I have obtained. It’s time for me to give back,” says Mike. “And I am looking forward to the 2020 Aggie Open!”
The Aggie Open Has a New Logo!
As a result of his $250,000 commitment to the Athletic Department, Mike Parizino ‘78 has become the major sponsor of the Aggie Open Golf Tournament. Our heartfelt gratitude to the Mike Parizino family.