Posted: 10/25/2012 | Last updated: October 25, 2012 at 08:36 PM
By: C.J. McCollum ‘13
Hailing from Leesburg, Virginia, senior soccer player Mary Grace Doyle has matured unlike no other over her career at Lehigh. She’s always had outstanding leadership, but admits that asking questions and listening was the key to her success. Coincidently, after seeking feedback, she transformed herself into one of the most recognizable leaders on campus.
Now people listen and take advice from her, due to her lofty leadership positions.
Women’s soccer head coach Eric Lambinus believes that Mary Grace is one of the better leaders he’s ever been around, mainly because she puts others above herself and doesn’t seek individual glory.
“Mary Grace is a person who always puts the well-being of others ahead of herself,” said Lambinus. “She is highly passionate and also very considerate of the feelings of others. The best way I can describe Mary Grace is that everyone who knows her considers her a good friend.”
Doyle has taken the time to build relationships with each and every player on the team and according to Lambinus, they look up to her most because she never makes excuses and brings her best every single day.
Mary Grace credits her upbringing, more specifically her family and animals, for her trustworthy and passionate ways. She grew up on a farm and endorses the fact that she is a born and raised country girl. During her childhood, she rode horses in the pasture, caught crayfish in the creek and made forts and tree houses in their thicket.
Doyle grew up with a lot of space to run around and play, which sparked her interest for soccer among many other things.
“I was four years old when I started playing soccer and it’s been my passion ever since. Unlike the norm, my role model was Julie Foudy,” said Doyle. “She played center mid and although she didn't get all of the glory and recognition as Mia Ham, Foudy always had something positive to say about her coaches and teammates.”
Doyle is a midfielder for Lehigh and has enjoyed a successful career which includes a Patriot League Championship in 2010. Although playing time has fluctuated, she has played in nearly 50 games throughout her career, starting 17.
Another reason why her teammates and coaches respect her so much is her commitment to the team’s success. She has managed to put personal agendas aside for the betterment of the team, which shows the type of person she truly is.
“Mary Grace has greatly impacted the team, both on and off the field.” said Lambinus. “Regardless of amount of playing time, she is one of our hardest workers on the practice field and is the most vocal supporter of the other players in the games.”
Doyle credits her two brothers for the competitive edge as well as the mental toughness she now possesses.
The animals Doyle grew up with at home have also played a crucial role in the development of how she relates and deals with people. She has a better understanding of how to cope with people and a passion for life that can be compared to the fire Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis displays on the gridiron.
“Not only have my animals taught me responsibility and care, but they have made me appreciate the little things in life,” said Doyle. “Being here and not being surrounded by animals, I have really missed furry faces and the joy and energy they bring to my family.”
Mary Grace’s intangibles have allowed her to receive leadership positions that extend beyond the soccer field. Off the field, her resume and involvement in programs speak for themselves. She is very actively involved in not only the community, but also the University as well. She has completed the leadership programs at Lehigh University, which include Pride, Emerging Leaders and Legacy programs.
Doyle is a part of Dental Society and has been a Student-Athlete mentor for two years. Her list of extracurricular activities continues with her involvement in LUST (Lehigh University Stop the Traffic), a club she recently started. Their mission is to promote the awareness of about the issue of human trafficking.
Last but not least, maybe her most prestigious leadership position includes being the SAC president, which stands for Student Athlete Council.
Lehigh Director of Student Life Julie Sterrett said, “Mary Grace was selected from a panel of 2012 graduates that highly recommended her to be president for this academic year. They largely recommended her because of her organizational skills and selfless attitude; she was elected Vice President as a junior.”
Mary Grace believes that Sterrett is one of the main reasons she has been successful at making the transition as a leader for not only her team, but also for the university.
“Words cannot even begin to explain the incredible impact Julie has had on my life here at Lehigh,” said Doyle. “Not only have her programs developed me into a better leader, but also being able to spend time with her has made me into a better person. Through all her generosity and kindness, she has inspired me to continually give back to this school, community and throughout the world. She has taught me life lessons that will be valuable in years to come.”
Sterrett believes Mary Grace has found herself and that her maturity as a leader is visible through her actions and voice.
“I think most significantly, she has developed greater confidence in her self-concept, competencies and resilience,” said Sterrett. “As a result, she has truly found her voice. She does what she says she’ll do and has become one of our most reliable leaders who are willing and able to hold her teammates and peers accountable to high standards.”
As a humble and hard-working person Mary Grace has always been a well respected leader and a fantastic teammate, but now she seems to have put it all together making her the ideal leader in the community according to Sterrett.
A Biology major, Doyle hasn’t completely decided what she will do after graduation, but she knows that she wants to pursue dental school after taking a year in between.
“During this gap year, I would love to travel abroad, specifically to do mission work,” said Doyle. “Although the final decision is still up for debate, I have recently begun an application to join the Peace Corps.”
Regardless of what path Mary Grace decides to take, she will have success because she possesses skills that can’t be taught. Everyone isn’t born with the passion and love she approaches every task with. Doyle will be remembered for her bright smile and magnetic personality, and her legacy will be everlasting.
When asked how she would want to be remembered, she responded saying her goal in life is to be remembered as being selfless, whether it’s through volunteer work or just lending an ear to a teammate or friend.
“My family and faith have taught me that it’s important to use the gifts that God has given me to give back to others in a positive way,” said Mary Grace. “For students in the future, I challenge you to learn more about the amazing gifts you have and use them to shine a positive light on someone else.”