BOSTON, Mass. - Saint Michael's College field hockey junior Anna Hurley (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) was the student speaker during the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund's annual banquet on April 11 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, addressing an audience of 1,200 with her experience as a college student-athlete living with epilepsy. Hurley shared the podium with former PGA TOUR star and recently retired NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller, who was the principal honoree at the largest golf banquet in the U.S.
Hurley worked for five years at The Ridge Club in South Sandwich, Mass., as a caddie and in the cart barn. A second-year starting goalkeeper on the Saint Michael's field hockey team this past fall, Hurley was fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference in saves per game (6.7), tied for fifth in shutouts (3), and stood sixth in save percentage (.777). She has nine shutouts in two seasons as a starter.
A psychology major with a business administration minor, Hurley has been heavily involved with such organizations as the Special Olympics; Ski for the Cure, which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; Team IMPACT, which pairs children facing serious and chronic illnesses with college sports teams; and Hope Happens Here, an organization founded at Saint Michael's that addresses mental health awareness.
Across her 13 minutes on stage, Hurley discussed her history with epilepsy, the personal significance of being involved with Hope Happens Here, and how assistance from the Ouimet Scholarship Fund has allowed her to manage her symptoms while succeeding academically and athletically as a Division II student-athlete.
"Tonight is the first time I've spoken about my own [challenges]," Hurley said during her speech. "I'd like to thank my teammates, coaches and mentors who helped me stubbornly do things my way, never listening to the voices that have told me over and over I shouldn't try or didn't belong. That is my goal: I want to be a voice for all of those kids that are afraid of what we call The Monster Under the Bed, where epilepsy hides in the shadows." Listen to the entire speech here.
The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund was founded in 1949 and has awarded $36 million in need-based college tuition assistance to young people who served at least two years as caddies or in pro shop and course superintendent operations in Massachusetts. In the current school year, the Fund awarded 457 scholarships totaling $2.2 million to students who worked at 130 courses and are attending 164 colleges. A total of 5,900 students have received Ouimet Scholarships, and many have gone on to outstanding positions of leadership in business and professional careers. The Ouimet Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization considered "The Golf Charity of Massachusetts."