Following an outstanding career in the St. Mary’s High School soccer program, Joe Gill earned a tryout with the Saint Anselm College men’s soccer team. But the 6-feet-3-inch Gill declined the invitation, instead choosing to focus on student government as his main extracurricular activity.
That decision worked out very well for Gill, who was elected three times as Saint Anselm class president. On Saturday Gill received his degree in Political Science at the Class of 2013 commencement ceremonies. He was the guest of honor at a graduation party Sunday that was hosted by his proud family, including his parents, Frank and Pat.
“Being a student at St. Anselm was a really good experience and one hopefully that I can build on,” said Gill.
He said his four years at St. Mary’s set a strong foundation upon which he could advance and excel in college.
“The people at St. Mary’s were great to me and it’s nice to always have a resource that you can go back to,” said Gill. “They gave me a base and I was able to build off of that.”
Gill singled out St. Mary’s director of athletics Jeff Newhall for being a guiding force and a positive role model.
“Mr. Newhall has been absolutely great – whether it’s a political question or a career or education question,” said Gill. “The Newhall family has been outstanding to me.”
Gill played varsity soccer at St. Mary’s for four years and was a captain. He served as class vice president for three years and was a member of the National Honor and the school ministry.
Gill thanked his parents for their support. “They’ve always had my back, even in some of the less conventional things that I’ve undertaken.”
He has two older sisters, Suzanne, who just received her doctorate in Physical Therapy, and Danielle, who has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from St. Joseph College and now resides in North Carolina.
Gill, 22, will be working as the director of media relations for the North Shore Navigators this summer. The current umpire-in-chief for Massachusetts Babe Ruth Softball, he holds the distinction of being the youngest umpire in the history of the Babe Ruth World Series. He is also hoping to do some writing for newspapers.
“I really like the communications field, especially public relations,” said Gill.
He quelled speculation that he would be a candidate in the Lynn city election this year. “After deep thought and talking to people like Jeff Newhall, I’m putting my plans on hold. I wouldn’t rule it out for two years from now. There’s a good chance I might throw my hat in the ring in 2015.”
He prides himself on his leadership skills. “God gives us all different talents and mine has been the ability to communicate with people and if I can step into a situation and take the lead – that’s what I can bring to the table.”
Ryan Kenney, Gill’s college roommate from Malden and Arlington Catholic, witnessed Gill’s leadership skills and his ability to bring people together for good causes during their four years at St. Anselm.
“Joe is a tremendous person – he’s honest, genuine, sincere,” said Kenney. “No matter what he’s involved in, it’s 100 percent all the time every time. He’s a great friend whom I know I can rely on no matter what. We had a great year of senior activities under his leadership. We’ll be friends for life.”