Outstanding Young Alum of the Year Basil Marin ‘10 keeps students’ needs first
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the new position accepted by Dr. Basil Marin.
America’s youth face myriad risks and challenges meeting them head-on. From mental health struggles and bullying to academic concerns and the perils of social media, vulnerable children in the U.S. have a lot on their minds—and many just need someone to show that they care.
Anastacio Basil Marin ‘10 prides himself on being that person, continuing his work with students who act out and struggle in school. By parlaying his lived experiences with advanced degrees in the field of education, he also has blossomed into a sought-after keynote speaker on education topics.
As selected by Eastern Mennonite University’s Alumni Association and its Awards and Nominations Committee, Marin is the 2023 Outstanding Young Alum of the Year. The Outstanding Young Alum Award is given annually to an alumna or alumnus who, through her or his professional achievement and/or Christ-like compassionate service, is making a significant contribution to the local, national or global community.
“I am grateful to the EMU community for thinking of me during one of the lowest periods of my adult life,” Marin said of winning the award. “Losing my father a year ago has truly impacted my life in a significant way. Being the Outstanding Young Alum of the Year is not only an honor but a dedication to my father’s legacy of serving others. This award has given me hope in the Bible verse Galatians 6:9, which states, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’”
Marin, previously principal of Thomas Harrison Middle School in Harrisonburg, is a self-described “disruptor of the status quo.” Whether he’s in the classroom, mentoring teachers, leading in various capacities or volunteering with professional organizations — he counts at least five he’s currently involved with — Marin stays busy. In the 13 years since leaving EMU with his business administration and management degree in tow, he’s hardly stayed still.
Marin recently accepted a new position within Harrisonburg City Public Schools, where he will be working with Equity and Community Engagement to extend the work of the office into support of students with disabilities, according to a release from the school division on Friday.
“He always exhibited a remarkable amount of passion, dedication and drive when it came to students, parents and the community,” said Shawn Millaci, principal of Churchland High School in Portsmouth, Virginia. “Basil’s demeanor was calm and supportive, and he always put students, parents, colleagues and stakeholders at ease. He could often be found counseling at-risk students and gave many of our students the hope that they needed to persevere.”
His master’s degree in special education and teaching from Liberty University preceded a pair of degrees from Old Dominion University, including a PhD in educational leadership and administration. That formal training has proven invaluable since his first high school assistant principal post in 2017.
As a high school student, Marin’s inspiring mentor instilled in him the power of education.
“I believe wholeheartedly that I was placed on Earth to help young scholars who have the mentality that they will never amount to anything,” Marin reflected. “Too easily, our underserved youth believe the societal lies that they will never be successful nor have access to quality educational experiences.”
Marin will be recognized on Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Opening Homecoming Celebration Breakfast in Yoder Arena. Following a morning worship service on Oct. 15, EMU also will host a luncheon in honor of Marin, 2023 Alum of the Year Andy Dula ‘91, and 2023 Distinguished Service Award co-winners Paul and Lisa Zendt Shelly ‘89.
“In order to be a Christian, one must have a personal connection with God,” Marin said. “I struggled with this concept growing up but always felt God calling me in with a small, still voice. As I got older, I started to develop a stronger connection to God, and my years at EMU also helped to deepen my walk with Christ, as many of my professors and other leaders showed me grace and compassion day in and day out.”
“Christianity is a major component in my life, and I could not see me living life any other way.”