Throughout his time on College Hill, Cory Spera ’15 has found ways to translate his involvement in sports and academics into opportunities to serve both the local and Lafayette communities.
A right-handed pitcher and biology major, Spera (Lorton, Va.) has been an athletic peer mentor for three years, guiding first-year students in athletics and college life. Through the Miracle League of Northampton County, he has helped children with disabilities play baseball.
As a volunteer technician for American Health Care Professionals, he performed basic physicals for residents of area retirement communities. He’s worked with injured student athletes as a volunteer in the College’s Sports Medicine Training Room.
He is also a member of Oaks Leadership Academy, the Lafayette Leadership Education Committee, the Alumni Relations Council, the Alcohol and Other Drugs Standing Committee, and the Class of 2015 Commencement Gift Committee. He is a Gateway ambassador for Career Services Office.
Spera truly embodies the spirit of education at Lafayette, and the campus community has named him the winner of the 2015 George Wharton Pepper Prize. Chosen through a vote of the student body and faculty, the Pepper Prize is awarded annually to the senior “who most nearly represents the Lafayette ideal.” Spera will speak at Lafayette’s 180th Commencement Saturday, May 23.
In addition to his service work, Spera has performed research through Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars undergraduate research program. He worked on an environmental chemistry project with Steve Mylon, associate professor of chemistry, and analyzed themes of conversations on fantasy football message boards with Rebecca Kissane, associate professor of anthropology and sociology.
On the baseball field, Spera was named the Patriot League Baseball Scholar Athlete and the Maroon Club Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2014. He was an All-Patriot League First Team selection and received the Harold ‘Moose’ Hageman ’39 Award for most valuable Lafayette pitcher last season. He was also named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for three years.
Before attending medical school, Spera will spend a year working for Headfirst, which specializes in sports and summer camp experiences for children in the Washington, D.C. area.
The Pepper Prize was established in 1923 by George Wharton Pepper H’22, a U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, attorney, and founding member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In his gift, Pepper noted that the “ideal” Lafayette student combines a “sound academic record” with “noteworthy participation in College activities and student life.”