ASU grad to take part in Pat's Run – in Washington, D.C.
When the starting gun is fired for the Sixth Annual Pat's Run at 7 a.m., April 17, Matt Cicinelli will be off to the race.
But it will be 10 a.m., and Cicinelli will be in Washington, D.C., with a group of East Coast runners, all committed to the same cause: raising funds for the Tillman scholars program.
"We do a shadow run in D.C., for folks who want to run the race but can't get to Tempe," Cicinelli said. "We have a barbecue afterwards."
Cicinelli, who now works for IBM in Washington, consulting for the government, was in the third class of Tillman Scholars (2007-2008) and now is an avid supporter of the Tillman Foundation and Scholar program.
Cicinelli ran the New York City Marathon two years ago as a member of Team Tillman, and had planned to participate in the March 20 National Marathon in Washington in support of the cause.
"I was supposed to run, but I got injured," he said.
However, another Tillman Scholar – Anton Hoffman, a Military Scholar – did run in the race.
Cicinelli, who graduated from the W. P. Carey School of Business in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics, said he learned about the Tillman Foundation and Scholars program, which focuses on personal development, everyday leadership and social action, when he was a student at ASU.
"It was a different kind of leadership program," he said. "I liked the way we looked at the world through the program. It was more of an open discussion. It was personal in that way. It was a 'Think about it, then shut up and get out there and get your hands dirty' type of program.
"It was a discussion about happenings in the world, an interesting look at what was going on in the world and how people were impacting change in their community, and how people were taking steps to follow whatever issues they saw that needed to be addressed. It was eye opening to see what was going on and hear discussions."
What issues has Cicinelli found that challenge him?
He's committed to student development, and the well-being of children, he said, "helping people who are in school figure out what they want to do and how they're going to get there - things that are important but aren't explicitly taught."
He also believes young people just need to be offered opportunities so they can thrive and excel, and has worked with an organization in Washington that "focuses on kids from a disadvantaged neighborhood in town, with such programs as tutoring."
Cicinelli, a native of Tempe, said he was privileged to meet Pat Tillman in person, and now is committed to upholding the ideals of the former ASU football star and serviceman who gave his life for his country.
When the Pat’s Race runners are finishing the race by crossing the 42-yard line at Sun Devil Stadium (honoring the number 42 jersey that Tillman wore as an ASU player), Cicinelli will be coasting to a stop in East Potomac Park – at the 42-yard line at least in spirit.