Pictured left to right: Tom H. Harris, Executive Vice President of The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company; Isayah Young-Burke of Susquehanna University; Jonathan DiBacco, California Maritime Academy; Marc Lerebours, Endicott College; Earl Smith, New Mexico Highlands University; Timothy Marra, Christendom College; Leanne Acton, Assistant Vice President/Head of Corporate Sponsorships, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Not pictured: Abraham Asante, The Claremont Colleges. Copyright 2018 National Small College Rugby Organization
Every year at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company recognizes collegiate rugby student-athletes for the value, contribution and impact they have made for their team, rugby community and the people around them. All nominees exemplify values such as integrity, respect and loyalty both on and off the pitch, as well as serve as mentors, perform community service and contribute their time to charitable organizations.
This year, 21 individuals – the largest group of nominees to date – were honored. Of those 21, six were NSRCO players and four nominees were women.
The six NSCRO nominees were:
Abraham Asante, The Claremont Colleges, from Newark, NJ, faced adversity from his earliest days growing up in a single parent household in Ghana. After his mother remarried and moved his family to the United States, his stepfather passed away. Asante quickly stepped up to help raise his two sisters. He delayed graduation by a year to improve his grades, was accepted to Pitzer College and has become a leader and support system for the rugby team.
Jonathan DiBacco, California Maritime Academy, from San Pedro, CA, has worked with Hands of Mercy for the past 11 years, building hundreds of homes for those without in Ensenda, Mexico. On campus, he is a leader in InterVarsity helping students cope with college struggles.
Marc Lerebours, Endicott College, from Norwalk, CT, was raised by a single mother and is the first member of his family to attend college. He's currently on the verge of obtaining his M.B.A degree from Endicott's graduate school and is the epitome of a student-athlete, exemplifying maturity, respect, sportsmanship, and a high level of character where ever he goes.
Timothy Marra, Christendom College, from Clifton Park, NY, spent his last two spring breaks on mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Peru, spending time rebuilding homes and improving community infrastructure. He also participates in Sports Are For Everyone (SAFE) where he helps disabled children learn and play baseball.
Earl Smith, New Mexico Highlands University, from Las Vegas, NM, has been volunteering at a local nursing home spending time with elderly. He has also spent time at Corner Stone church helping out with the youth at bible study where has been mentoring kids about life and been a positive force for good.
Isayah Young-Burke, Susquehanna University, from New York, NY, is a talented member of the University Choir and an active member of the Black Student Union, advocating for racial equality and social justice. Isayah serves as a liaison to Student Government, participating on several committees to address student and faculty concerns related to residential life and dedicates at least 25 hours a semester to serving the Selinsgrove, PA community.
The NSCRO nominees were recognized at the Penn Mutual/NSCRO reception on Friday, 01 June 2018 at Talen Energy Stadium. Certificates were presented to all six nominees by Tom Harris, Executive Vice President and Leanne Acton, Assistant Vice President/Head of Corporate Sponsorships, both with The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.
The full list of nominees is available on Penn Mutual’s website here.