Alumni involvement plays a critical role in the success of SJU's athletic teams. A number of former baseball and men's lacrosse players have taken an active role in giving back to current players by sharing their professional experience and career advice through the teams' alumni mentoring programs.
"The alumni mentoring program gives the current student-athletes an opportunity to interact with and learn from those that have come before them and gives them insight into how to put the right foot forward as they prepare for life after college,” remarks Taylor Wray, the head men's lacrosse coach at SJU.
Former players spanning a broad range of graduation years attended the teams' recent mentoring nights, which men's lacrosse held in New York City and baseball hosted in Center City Philadelphia. At each event, current team members had the opportunity to network with alums who worked in career fields of interest. Discussions covered an array of topics, including tips regarding internships, career tracks and advice for individuals looking for their first job. Previous events also included opportunities for resume critiques, mock interviews and a review of cover letters.
A recent graduate and former baseball player, Anthony Cirillo '13 attests to the impact of the mentoring program. “Saint Joseph's Athletics has done so much for me in my young professional career. The network of former student-athletes at this University has led me to the career path I am on today and for that I will be forever grateful. I want to make sure that I am able to assist any of our current student-athletes to help them on their next journey.”
Bill Oakes '98 echoed that sentiment, “I am happy to participate in these events, as SJU and the lacrosse program have had a such a positive impact on my life. I want to give back and help support the University and the program in any way possible – both financially and with volunteering my time.”
The success of the individual mentoring nights, has led the baseball and men's lacrosse programs to expand their mentoring initiatives. Cultivating an even closer bond, each squad matches upperclassmen with former players who are accessible throughout the year to provide career advice.
“When we talk about building our program, it's not just about putting on the uniform and then when you graduate we never hear from you again,” comments Head Baseball Coach Fritz Hamburg. “We want our alums to stay connected, to continue to stay involved, and to demonstrate to the current players what it means to be a Hawk.”
In addition to these programs, alums from baseball and men's lacrosse, as well as SJU's other varsity teams, can mentor student-athletes on an ongoing basis through the University's SJU Connects program. The new online platform facilitates one-to-one career consultations and allows current students to browse profiles of alumni who elect to join this group and book a consultation with individuals based on their industry, major, geographic location, athletic team or shared area of interest. For more information about mentoring student-athletes, contact Liz Barone at firstname.lastname@example.org or to learn more about SJUConnects, visit alumni.sju.edu/connects.