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Former Georgetown Student-Athletes Recognized at John Carroll Awards Event

GUHOYAS.COM Mike Vespoli, Mary Taylor Behrens and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed
Mike Vespoli, Mary Taylor Behrens and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed

May 3, 2011

WASHINGTON - A pair of former Georgetown University student-athletes were among five alums recognized with the John Carroll Award at this year's John Carroll Weekend, held this past weekend in San Francisco.

Since 1952, John Carroll Weekend has traveled to a different city each year, gathering the local Georgetown community and alumni, parents and friends from around the globe to celebrate the best of Georgetown. The weekend of educational, social and cultural events offers participants the chance to engage with one another and with Georgetown's outstanding faculty and university leaders, and to learn more about the host city.

The John Carroll Award was established by the Georgetown University Alumni Association in 1951 to honor alumni whose achievements exemplify the ideals and traditions of Georgetown University and its founder, Archbishop John Carroll.

The John Carroll Award is the highest honor bestowed by the alumni association. All recipients have distinguished themselves through lifetime achievement and outstanding service to their alma mater. Five John Carroll Awards are presented each year.

Among the honorees this year were former women's track & field standout Mary Taylor Behrens (C'83) and former rower Michael L. Vespoli (B'68). Others recognized included Philip T. Inglima (C'84, L'88), The Hon. M. Margaret McKeown (L'75, H'05) and Paul F. Pelosi (F'62)

Mary Taylor Behrens (C'83)

From her days as a star student-athlete to her recent years of support for Georgetown Athletics, Mary Taylor Behrens' dedication to her alma mater knows no bounds.

A four-year letter winner on the track and field team, she was a member of three school record relay teams and the school record holder for the indoor 300-meter run. As a senior, Mary was co-captain of the team and received the James A. Gallagher Memorial Award as the Hoyas' outstanding track and field competitor.

After graduating from Georgetown with a degree in government, Mary began her career in New York at Chase in 1983. She joined Merrill Lynch in 1989 and soon earned a senior position in the healthcare group before becoming head of human resources and a member of firm's executive committee. At the time of her retirement from Merrill Lynch in 2003, Mary was head of the Merrill Lynch Investment Managers Americas region and the most senior woman in the company.

With a deep expertise she honed on Wall Street, Mary formed Newfane Advisors, a private consulting firm that she oversees as president. She has been a member of the board of Manor Care and is on the board of Sagent Pharmaceuticals.

Mary served on the board of regents for seven years, including five years as the head of its athletics committee, and served on the board of directors' ad hoc committee on athletics. Remembering the scholarship that paved the way for her to attend Georgetown, Mary and her husband, Chris, established an endowed scholarship for a women's track and field student-athlete and endowed the coaching chair for women's track, which earned her the Outstanding Contribution to Athletics award. Mary also co-chaired fundraising efforts for the Class of 1983's 25th Reunion.

Mary is a member of the board of the Lawrence Hospital Center and recently served as chair of the Bronxville School Foundation and senior warden of her church. Mary has also served as president of the Winthrop H. Smith Foundation and was on the board of the YMCA of Greater New York.

Mary and Chris have two sons, Christopher and Matthew.

Michael L. Vespoli (B'68)

Whether on the water or in the boardroom, Mike Vespoli's passion and decisive leadership have always made him a true champion.

Raised by entrepreneurs who taught him the value of hard work and sacrifice, Mike was able to grasp an opportunity that his parents never had--the chance to attend college. He had never rowed before walking onto the team during his freshman year at Georgetown, but Mike fell in love with the sport and by his senior year, he and his teammates took first place at the 1968 Dad Vail Regatta.

After graduating from the business school, Mike taught and coached crew at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia and the University of Massachusetts, where he received a master's degree in education. He also continued rowing competitively, winning six national championships before joining the U.S. Olympic Team and placing 5th at the Munich Games. In 1974, the rowing world was stunned when Mike and his eight-oared crew became the first U.S. team to win the world championships since 1930. Once he retired from competitive rowing, Mike reunited with his Georgetown coach, Tony Johnson, to lead Yale's crew to national success.

Mike revolutionized the sport in the United States when he founded the first racing shell manufacturing company to use high-tech materials instead of traditional wood. Today, Vespoli USA is the largest racing shell builder in North America.

A member of both the National Rowing Foundation Hall of Fame and the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame, Mike has maintained a strong connection to the Georgetown crew program that launched his professionally and personally rewarding career. He served as the chair of the rowing association's board of directors for 16 years and has been a member of the board of regents for another 16. In 2000, Georgetown honored Mike with the Outstanding Service to Athletics award. Mike and his wife, Nancy, are members of the Georgetown 1789 Society and have endowed the Vespoli Family Crew Scholarship, which provides need-based financial assistance to rowers.

Mike and Nancy have one daughter, Lauren.

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