Joe Silvestri, the long stick midfielder for Albion College's first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship team in men's lacrosse, added to the Britons' tradition of academic success as the recipient of an NCAA's Postgraduate Scholarship.
Silvestri, a native of Novi, Mich., who prepped at Detroit Catholic Central, will receive a one-time scholarship of $7,500 to help fund his education at the University of Toledo Medical School. The NCAA awards 58 scholarships (29 for men, 29 for women) at the end of the fall, winter, and spring seasons.
"Joe's receipt of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is one of the greatest accomplishments a student-athlete can achieve," Athletic Director Matt Arend said. "Joe has placed himself among an elite group of individuals who have represented Albion in competition."
Chemistry professor Cliff Harris, who served as one of Silvestri's faculty mentors, added, "Joe is a wise and thoughtful young man who lives as intentionally as anyone I have ever known. He demonstrated this in all aspects of his Albion College career. He was a leader on the field and in his fraternity. He made the classroom a more educational, comfortable and welcoming place for everyone. He took the unusual step of joining my research group in chemistry while completing his biology degree – and then went on to make real contributions.
"His goals are so lofty they are typically mocked by cynics," Harris continued. "Joe wants to change lives and leave the planet better off than he found it. I am completely confident that he will reach these goals and those he next chooses."
A biology major, Silvestri graduated summa cum laude. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and the science honorary Sigma Xi, received the College's endowed award in biological science and was placed on the Capital One Division III Men's At-Large Academic All-America second team by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Albion's men's lacrosse program achieved a 42-27 record during Silvestri's four-year career, with the win total increasing each year until the Britons captured the MIAA championship this spring. A three-time all-MIAA pick (first team in 2013 and 2014; second team in 2015), Silvestri completed his career in second place on Albion's all-time ground ball leaders with 177.
"I was delightfully satisfied to receive this award, and for me, it stands second only to the team MIAA championship that was won back in May," Silvestri said. "I am nothing however without the support of those around me. To my teammates, Head Coach Jake DeCola, chemistry professor Cliff Harris, Director for Global Diversity Dan McQuown, head athletic trainer Andy Lawrence, the staff of the athletic department, and many others, I am eternally indebted.
"The Albion environment breeds success and being a student-athlete taught me the skills necessary on how to be a resilient and compassionate person," Silvestri added. "I felt constantly challenged to be at my best every day in the classroom and on the field, and although overwhelming at times, the end result was worth it. I just finished my orientation week at medical school, and several key factors were emphasized: professionalism, positivity, teamwork, and mental toughness. I find these qualities to be eerily similar to what Coach DeCola emphasized to the team every day in games and practice. I am confident that my preparation I received from Albion will help me on this next exciting journey in my life."
DeCola offered, "Joe made it his personal mission to ensure our team had a serious approach when it comes to academics. He helped create a culture of student-athletes doing quality work. Our program is proud of his dedication and we will carry his example for years to come."
Silvestri becomes Albion's 13th NCAA postgraduate scholarship recipient.
An interesting side note is one of Silvestri's classmates at the University of Toledo Medical School is Mike Tolkacz, who also graduated Phi Beta Kappa in May and captained the Briton men's soccer team during the 2014 campaign. Silvestri said he and Tolkacz have been classmates since first grade and they serve as resources for each other.
Albion's NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients
- Joe Silvestri, 2015, Men's Lacrosse
- Neil Forster, 2007, Men's Tennis
- Justin Ferriman, 2006, Men's Soccer
- Megan Russell, 2004, Softball
- Liz Hermiller, 2001, Women's Soccer
- Neil Johnson, 1997, Football
- Kyle Klein, 1996, Football
- Tim Schafer, 1995, Football
- Jeff Shooks, 1994, Football
- Jennifer Kennedy, 1993, Women's Basketball
- Mike Montico, 1993, Football
- Joel Manby, 1981, Football and Baseball
- Jim Horner, 1969, Baseball