December 04, 2020
Teaming Up to Empower Tartans
CMU graduate and soccer player inspires the next generation of leaders
By Sarah Burke
For Sharif Siddiqui, a Carnegie Mellon University coach did much more than sharpen his skills on the soccer field. He also inspired Sharif to give back to his community.
After graduating from the Tepper School of Business in 2000, Sharif established a scholarship in honor of Nick Gaudioso, the head coach of CMU’s men’s soccer team from 1981 to 2007. Two teammates — Dietrich College graduates Tommy Seier and Ben Kartzman — joined him in this effort.
“Nick had an incredible impact on me personally,” said Sharif, a member of CMU’s Andrew Carnegie Society. “He taught me some crucial life lessons on humility, commitment and hard work. These were the hallmarks of our team, and they have continued to be important values in my life.”
Since 2012, the Nick Gaudioso Leadership Scholarship has been awarded annually to a rising senior who demonstrates excellent leadership skills and a strong dedication to service.
This year’s recipient, mechanical engineering major Anthony Kennon, is a committee lead for the yearly Special Olympics Western Spring Sectional and a mentor in the Plaidvocates — a peer health and wellness advocacy program for athletes. Anthony also shines in the classroom and on the field as a regular member of the College of Engineering Dean’s List, an invitee to multiple honor societies and a repeat starter for the CMU football team.
During Sharif’s four years on the CMU men’s soccer team, Coach Gaudioso instilled key values that have continued to be important in Sharif’s life.
In addition to the Nick Gaudioso Leadership Scholarship, Sharif and his wife, Saloni, established the Siddiqui Soccer Field Improvement Fund in 2018 to enhance the practice and game-day experience for today’s Tartans.
“To me, being a leader means positively influencing as many people as possible,” Anthony said. “This scholarship has allowed me to focus on my studies and still have time to contribute to numerous clubs and organizations that I feel called to commit to.”
Over the years, Sharif has corresponded with almost all of his scholarship recipients, helping them connect with internships and providing other opportunities through networking.
“They are a diverse group of students from a variety of backgrounds with very different career goals,” Sharif said of the recipients. “What binds them all together is that they are all ambitious and incredibly hard-working.”
As someone who graduated with substantial student loans, Sharif said he understands how hard it can be for today’s students to meet the growing costs of education.
“The scholarship offers some relief,” Sharif said. “Our hope is that it will inspire others from the CMU community to help the next generation of leaders.”