Three Patriot League Student-Athletes Receive Victory Scholarships to Continue Careers in Ireland Lafayette's McGorry and Mower Join Bucknell's Sappington in receiving Sports Changes Lives Scholarships
Center Valley, Pa. — The Patriot League will have three representatives in Ireland during the 2012-13 academic year. Sarah McGorry and Jim Mower, both recent Lafayette graduates, along with Bucknell grad Ryan Sappington have all been awarded the Victory Scholarship from the Sports Changes Lives Foundation.
The Foundation allows the student-athletes to continue their athletic careers by both playing on a collegiate team as well as continue their academic careers in a graduate program at an Irish or Northern Irish university. However a key focus of their contributions will be working with youth, particular those that suffer disadvantage, in community programs designed to raise aspirations.
Sarah McGorry is the first league female student-athlete to receive a Victory Scholarship. The 2011-12 Lafayette co-captain finished her career averaging 4.7 points per game and 3.66 rebounds per game. The power forward also finished in the all-time top 10 with 115 games played for the Leopards. She received her degree in Economics & Business in May and will pursue an MBA in Marketing at the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland.
"This is a great opportunity to keep playing basketball, continue my education and inspire disadvantaged youth to stay in school and make good life decisions," McGorry said. "The Victory Scholarship Program also provides contacts and resources that will help me find a job next year."
Fellow Leopard Jim Mower will also represent Lafayette abroad. The 1,000-point scorer averaged 10.9 points per game during his four-year career, and was one of the Leopard's most dangerous three-point shooters. Mower earned a Government & Law degree and will continue his studies at Ulster University in Jordanstown, Northern Ireland where he will pursue a Master's of Business Studies.
Long-time Lafayette men's basketball coach Fran O'Hanlon is thrilled about Mower's opportunity. "The huge benefit is that Jim is going to have a chance to earn his Master's degree. He will also benefit culturally, being able to travel and meet new people as well as continue his basketball career."
Recent Bucknell graduate Ryan Sappington is the league's first men's soccer player to receive a Victory Scholarship. The midfielder played in 15 of the Bison's 18 games during his senior season, and tallied one goal and one assist. Sappington received degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, and was named to the Patriot League Men's Soccer Academic Honor Roll during his final soccer season, posting a 4.0 GPA.
"Bucknell University and the Patriot League both strive to promote the epitome of the student-athlete image, and, in doing so, they open doors to incredible opportunities following graduation," said Sappington. "I am nothing short of honored to be able to represent this school, this conference, and this country, in pursuing a Master's Degree at Limerick, while working with young soccer players in the community, and continuing to play the game I love. The past four years in Lewisburg could not have better prepared me for the journey ahead, and I am incredibly grateful to Coach Nash, the rest of the staff and administration at Bucknell, and those in the Patriot League, who helped make this possible. "
The Patriot League entered into a partnership with the Sports Changes Lives Foundation in December of 2009 to facilitate opportunities for student-athletes to secure a Graduate Development International Scholarship. The partnership enables graduates from Patriot League institutions to apply for graduate school sport scholarships in a University in Ireland.
The Victory Scholarship Program assists deserving American students in obtaining a scholarship package to study at Masters level in Ireland. While studying they also continue playing their sport at all levels, work in the wider community with young people gaining valuable life experiences that will help them develop on a personal and professional level.
Three former Patriot League basketball student-athletes have participated in the program as Lafayette's Matt Betley (2008-09) and Paul Cummins (2009-10) and Bucknell's Darryl Shazier (2011-12) all played and studied at Ulster.
Gareth Maguire, Founder and CEO of Sport Changes Life, has the highest praise for the Patriot League Victory Scholars. "We are very confident that Sarah, Jim and Ryan will continue the excellent work completed by their Patriot League predecessors. They will be incredible academic and sporting role models on our programs and like the Patriot League we are committed to helping them achieve their potential on an academic, sporting and personal front," said McGuire.
Sports Changes Life offers American companies, academic and sporting organizations and individuals a unique opportunity to get involved in a Graduate Development International Scholarship package. They assist in getting the very best students a scholarship package to study at masters' level in Irish universities. Companies and individuals are invited to invest in these scholarships. These graduates will be the future leaders of companies throughout the United States and will have gained valuable international life experiences which will give them a globalised perspective crucial for transatlantic business development. The Sports Changes Life Foundation is a not-for-profit organization.
The Patriot League continually demonstrates that student-athletes can excel at both academics and athletics without sacrificing its high standards. The Patriot League's athletic success is achieved while its member institutions remain committed to its founding principle of admitting and graduating student-athletes that are academically representative of their class. Participation in athletics at Patriot League institutions is viewed as an important component of a well-rounded education.