At a Glance
Major(s): Exercise Science
Why study physical therapy? "I've always wanted to work with people who are in pain or struggling because, as an athlete, I know what it’s like."
Growing up in a “big Italian family” in Kinnelon, New Jersey, Gerry Siracusa ’22 remembers two constants in his life: baseball and helping people.
“Giving back is important to me because some people don't have as much, and you don’t know what it’s like to be in their situation,” says Siracusa, whose good deeds started with food drives as an altar boy at his Catholic church. In high school, he and his baseball teammates collected toys for children with cancer and volunteered at a food pantry and senior living facility.
At UMass Lowell, where Siracusa earned a B.S. in exercise science and is now pursuing an MBA, he has continued his passion for baseball — and community work. An outfielder for the Division 1 River Hawks, Siracusa received UML’s 2022 David J. Boutin Award for academic and athletic excellence, leadership and service.
“Being recognized with the Boutin Award means a lot, but it also doesn't define who I am, because my parents (Gerlando and Nellie) have been teaching me to treat people that way my whole life,” says Siracusa, who organized volunteer work at the Merrimack Valley Food Bank with UML teammates. “You can be a good athlete, a good teammate and a good friend without being cocky and showy.”
Siracusa’s performance on the field and in the classroom speaks for itself. As a senior, he hit .331 with 10 home runs and a team-high 65 runs batted in, helping to lead the River Hawks to their first-ever America East championship game appearance. Among his many accolades was a spot on the NCAA Div. 1 Northeast All-Region Second Team.
“It was an unbelievable year,” he says. “But without my teammates, coaches, family and friends, I would be nowhere.”
Siracusa chose to play at UML because of the dogged recruiting efforts of Coach Ken Harring — and the fact that former high school teammate Vinnie Martin was a River Hawk.
“Once I visited the campus, I knew this was the place for me,” Siracusa says. “The facilities were great, and I knew Ken was a down-to-earth guy who was adamant about helping people.”
A member of the America East Honor Roll and Dean's List every semester at UML, Siracusa majored in exercise science, a step toward his goal of becoming a physical therapist.
“I've always wanted to work with people who are in pain or struggling because, as an athlete, I know what it’s like,” says Siracusa, who tore his left (non-throwing) shoulder while swinging the bat late in his junior year and spent nine months rehabbing the injury. “Physical therapy is where my heart is.”
Given an extra year of baseball eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Siracusa is returning for a graduate season while pursuing an MBA, which will help him open his own physical therapy practice someday.
While Siracusa plans to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, he first wants to see how far he can take his baseball career.
“I'm going to do whatever I can to make myself the best version of myself, because if I'm given the opportunity to play pro ball, then I'm ecstatic,” says Siracusa, who hit .330 for the Vermont Mountaineers in the New England Collegiate Baseball League the summer following his senior year.
“But if I fall short and don't get the chance, I can look back and have no regrets because I know that I put all my effort into it,” he says. “I can go back to school and get my doctorate, so it’s a win-win. And I’m very grateful for that.”