Brendan Howe, Special Correspondent to DeanBulldogs.com
The Dean Difference. A short, simple, yet quite complex phrase that Dean College has put in place. Some question what that 'difference' actually is. However, it's different for everyone. President Dr. Paula Rooney will tell you that from day one of New Student Orientation. It's up to the student to go out and find what the 'difference' is.
For Dean's Andrew DiRito (Plymouth, Mass.), he's found his difference maker. The senior has been announced as the recipient of the DeanBryant Pathway Award, which DiRito will put forth towards Bryant University's MBA Program. The scholarship will cover a large portion of DiRito's tuition.
He earned the honor for his stellar academic performance throughout his collegiate career, and he's received praise from the College's Dean of the School of Business, Dr. P Gerard Shaw.
"This is a very prestigious award, and we're proud to have Andrew represent Dean, and himself in this way," said Shaw.
DiRito's journey to being chosen as the recipient of this award is a rather unorthodox one. It started when the director of Bryant's MBA Program, Linda Barringer, spoke to Andrew's senior seminar course this past fall. The speech sparked Andrew's interest, and prompted him to then text his parents about the idea of applying. To which they responded, "It can't hurt!"
He applied through an online application and even met Barringer again a few short months later at a Career Fair in November that was held at Dean. They were so impressed with Andrew's application, which boasted a 3.7 grade point average, as well as his elevated level of success that they went so far as to waive his interview, before selecting him for the award.
DiRito's brilliance in the classroom far precedes this honor, however. Andrew himself will credit some of that to his love and passion for the game of baseball. As a student-athlete, DiRito believes the structure and balancing act of baseball and academics is how he models his classroom prowess.
"It's definitely influenced how I approach it," DiRito said, a New England Collegiate Conference Academic All-Conference selection a season ago. "The structure of the schedule I have to maintain for baseball helps me to monitor the window of time I have to get my schoolwork done."
DiRito played his high school ball at Plymouth North and has spent two years in the program at Dean, where he's posted a lifetime .272 average in 38 career games.
"Andrew has been an exemplary student-athlete both academically and on the field," said Dean head baseball coach Dr. Ernie May, who also serves as Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Sport Management at the College.
"We all congratulate him on receiving the honor from Bryant and he continues to set the bar high for future Dean College students."
When I asked DiRito about what he loves and appreciates most about Dean, he gave a short answer, but one that you'll hear frequently when you pose the question to students. "It felt like home the second I got here. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and it truly is like family. That's what I love the most."
He also said he 'greatly appreciated' the relationship he's established with Coach May, and the impact he's had on him not only on the diamond, but off of it as well.
Those are the relationships that are most important. Sports will come and go, but life lessons never go away. DiRito will be given a lot more lessons when he begins the MBA program after graduating from Dean this spring.
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began competition in the 2008-09 academic year and current member institutions compete across 15 sports. The NECC membership focuses on providing athletic competition among institutions that share similar academic aspirations and are committed to the importance of the total educational experience for students engaged in sports. Current members include Bay Path University, Becker College, Dean College, Eastern Nazarene College, Elms College, Lesley University, Mitchell College and New England College.
(Story & Photo courtesy of Dean Sports Information)