By Mickey Blymier
As part of a celebration of Division III's 40th anniversary, the NCAA has selected Franklin & Marshall College alumna Mary Schapiro as one of 40 featured student-athletes who have demonstrated sportsmanship, citizenship and other attributes throughout their college and professional careers.
Nominated for the honor by officers of the College, Schapiro is a member of the Class of 1977 who was chairwoman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a member of the first varsity field hockey and women's lacrosse teams at F&M. She is featured in the third edition of the NCAA's 40-in-40 Project, a series of weekly profiles of student-athletes who attended Division III institutions since 1973.
The NCAA's online profile of Schapiro declares that she "has been a groundbreaker her entire life."
"This is very humbling, and especially so when I see the talent and drive that characterizes F&M athletes today," Schapiro said. "I loved my time on F&M's playing fields. As hard as we worked during my time, and as fortunate as we were to do well, today's play is at a whole different level."
The 40-in-40 Project seeks to bring to life the philosophy and ideals of Division III athletics by featuring individuals who have exemplified "proportion, comprehensive learning, passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship" – not just during their time on campus, but also in their careers.
"This is a fitting tribute to Ms. Schapiro, who pioneered women's sports here at F&M," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Patricia S.W. Epps. "Her success serves as an inspiration to all of our student-athletes. We are incredibly proud of the national recognition."
Schapiro earned three letters in field hockey and was the captain of the 1975 and 1976 teams. She also served as the first captain of the women's lacrosse team as a senior in 1977.
After F&M, Schapiro received a law degree from George Washington University in 1980. She then served in various roles as a financial services regulator during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s. Schapiro later served as the CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Schapiro as the 29th chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. She was the first woman to serve as the agency's permanent chair. In 2011, Forbes ranked her the 24th-most powerful woman in the world.
Schapiro credits some of her professional success to her time competing in athletics at F&M.
"I left F&M with a deep, deep appreciation for the amazing things that teamwork can produce, combining the energy, skills and special capability of diverse people," said Schapiro "The teamwork values I honed at F&M have served me well every single day."
Schapiro currently is managing director and chair at the Promontory Financial Group. She also is a member of F&M's Board of Trustees.