Grateful and Paying it Forward: Christine Carona ’85 Shares Her Orange Story

Christine Carona ’85, with daughters Sophia and Marissa
Christine Carona ’85, with daughters Sophia and Marissa.

Christine Carona ’85 might demonstrate one of the greatest examples of what it means to be Forever Orange.

“My connection with Syracuse University goes back almost as long as I remember…one of my earliest recollections is watching basketball with my dad and brother at Manley Field House,” Carona says. “But I’m not exaggerating when I say that SU literally changed my life three times. I’m pretty much the poster child for the impact SU can have.”

The first of those life-changing events happened when Carona was growing up in Syracuse, and her mother got a job at the Syracuse University Health Center after being a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. Then just three weeks later, Carona’s father suffered a career-ending heart attack—making her mother the sole breadwinner for their family.

“At 16, I really had no idea how extraordinary this story is, but I do now—a mom reinventing herself, suddenly responsible for a family’s income…and SU seeing a person, not a résumé, and giving her an opportunity to shine. It speaks to both their characters,” Carona says.

The second life-changing event happened when Carona was accepted to the University as a student. She describes her time as “pivotal,” securing a number of internships through the business school which led to a fulfilling and successful career as a financial advisor. Today Carona is Executive Director at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and was recently honored with the Forbes/Shook Best in State* advisor distinction.

Now, Syracuse continues to change Carona’s life, with her youngest daughter, Sophie, enrolled and majoring in psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Sophie became interested in Syracuse after attending Coach Mac’s service on campus. Janet MacPherson and I were sorority sisters at Alpha Phi, and Janet is Sophie’s godmother. We were all overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support; she applied early decision and never looked back,” Carona says. “I’m so impressed with the direction and the genuine care and concern for the students, it makes a big school smaller in many ways.”

Today, Carona lives in Boston and shows her gratitude for the University’s transformative effect on her family in many ways. A proud member of the Boston Regional Council and the National Campaign Council, she enjoys connecting with alumni in the New England area and regularly hosts salon events—small gatherings that allow alumni to connect. Her next salon, scheduled for April 22, 2020 will focus on women in philanthropy—another area Carona finds incredibly fulfilling.

She has supported the Barnes Center at The Arch, the National Veterans Resource Center at the D’Aniello Building, and the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fund—all for deeply personal reasons.

“Student wellness so important to me. Through her work at the Health Center, my mother was comforting to kids far from home. My parents regularly hosted Sunday dinners, helped with laundry, carted kids to the airport and cared for them when they were sick,” Carona says. “One of the ways we chose to remember them was having a reception area at the Barnes Center named in their honor, so their warm, welcoming spirit will comfort students for generations to come.”

“I’m supporting the NVRC because all the men in my life—my father, uncles and friends—served our country. I’m so proud of Syracuse’s tradition of taking care of our veterans and believe it’s critically important today,” she continues. “Finally, A&S is special because of Sophie’s studies, but Dean Ruhlandt is also amazing—her story and success as a woman in STEM is inspiring for all students, and I believe she represents the future.”

For Carona, being Orange is simply a way of life—giving her time, talent and philanthropic support as much as possible.

“Without SU, my life would’ve been very different,” Carona says. “That’s ultimately why I support Syracuse—not just because I believe in the school and higher education in general (which I do)—but to pay it forward for all the University has given me and my family.”


* Source: (January, 2020). Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based on in-person and telephone due diligence meetings to evaluate each advisor qualitatively, a major component of a ranking algorithm that includes: client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, including: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research, LLC and not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Neither Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC nor its Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors pay a fee to Forbes or SHOOK Research in exchange for the ranking. For more information:

Christine Carona is a Financial Advisor with the Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Boston, MA. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC, or its affiliates.