Sunday, May 6, 2007

Michael McGrath

Michael McGrath:

“Preparing for a Lifetime”

By: Joseph W. Norman

Bill Rodgers once stated, “To be a consistent winner means not just preparing one day, one month, or even one year, but for a lifetime.” Michael McGrath, a senior Accounting major at the State University of New York at Geneseo, has a poster with this quote on the wall next to his bed. For Michael it is something that symbolizes what it means to be active in life. He said, “It is a process of continuing to make more and more of yourself.” In his own pursuits, Michael has developed a lifestyle in which he consistently seeks to achieve more for himself in all facets of his life.

Michael currently resides at the fine household of 69 Second Street in Geneseo, with his fellow teammates on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. His interests throughout his twenty-one year life have varied, but he seems to have found a few things he is passionate about. After graduation he will be working for Tronconi, Segarra, and Associates, an accounting firm in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Here he will work and study for the CPA examination (Certified Public Accountant), an essential qualification for accountants.

Michael has two siblings, Mary, 19, and Jack, 23, who are all very close. Mary attends SUNY Geneseo and runs on the teams as well, while Jack attends the University at Buffalo. Jack first sparked Michael’s interest in running by getting involved with it himself at a young age. Watching his older brother compete, Michael developed an awareness of the sport and started to pursue it.

With a deep love of both baseball and basketball, Michael first started running to get into shape for these sports. Soon, basketball fell off the radar and Michael began to focus on cross country while continuing to play baseball in the spring. With some work behind the scenes by his assistant coach at Kenmore West High School, Michael started to be recruited by Geneseo Coach Michael Woods. After meeting with Woods, Michael decided he might be a good fit in the successful Geneseo running program. At Geneseo he has been extremely happy, and has certainly made an impact on his team.

In an emotional moment, he described one of his fondest memories at Geneseo, the Regional Cross Country meet his junior year. In a race when Geneseo was considered out of the running for an NCAA birth because of the strength of The College of New Jersey and the New York University squads (top two teams qualified for the NCAA Championship) Michael led a charge of seven Geneseo men who defied the odds.

Although Michael had no idea what was going on behind him, he still dug deep and fought through the finish. Upon completion of the race, when all the news he heard throughout the race was that the team was out of it and he had to fight for an individual spot, Michael found out that Geneseo nearly won.

He confesses, “When I finished, someone told me that we might have won the race and I couldn’t believe it: The guys behind me ran a hell of a race, a lot of people didn’t think our team could make it and looking back it really meant a lot to me.”

Something that irks Michael is people who sell them self short with thoughts of self doubt. “A lot of people out there have a lot of potential to be great, but they just do not see it inside themselves.” He urges people to believe in their abilities and not limit themselves with negative thought.

On to the lighter side of Michael, he loves a good cheeseburger, watching a Yankee game, and taking a nice nap. He sleeps about eight hours a night, but the cat naps during the day keep him going. “I’ll sneak a nap in whenever I can,” he joked. Although he admits to not reading enough, he said he enjoys reading running books and staying up on current events.

Michael defines success pretty simply: “It is doing something you enjoy and being happy with it and satisfied at the end of the day that you made a difference in someone else’s life or your own.”

He believes a good leader should be hard working, have the respect of the people they are leading, and have the ability to see weaknesses in them and have the humility to surround themselves with stronger people in those areas. Also, he attests that a good leader needs to be approachable and compassionate with who he or she leads.

To a new college student Michael says, “Understand that everyone coming in is in the same situation as you: therefore, relax and know that it is really not that big of a deal.” He continues, “You got into the college because you belong there. Do your best and believe in yourself.” The rest he believes will take care of itself.

Michael is a man who has truly enjoyed his college experience, from the classes, to the races, to the other extra-curricular activities he has been involved with (such as the Accounting Society, the Finance Club, and the Student Managed Investment Fund). Through his efforts he has stayed disciplined and worked hard to improve himself, modeling the Bill Rodgers’ quote that speaks to him daily from above his bed. “To be a consistent winner means not just preparing one day, one month, or even one year, but for a lifetime.”

Michael A. McGrath

SUNY Geneseo ‘07

B.S. Accounting