Alex La Noire ’19, financial economics, recently attended the annual NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. As a member of the soccer team and a student highly dedicated to service both to his campus and to his Latino community, the junior right-back was tapped to represent both the America East conference and UMBC in mid-November.
The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum’s annual event celebrates the diverse athletes who have made an impact on their campus and who strive to better themselves and their teams. Since its inception in 1997, the Leadership Forum has given over 5,000 student-athletes the opportunity to network and grow, both professionally and personally.
La Noire has amassed an impressive resume of both philanthropic and athletic accomplishments since arriving at UMBC. He was a recipient of the America East Helping Hands Award this past summer for his dedication to community service and commitment to academic rigor. As a walk-on member of the soccer team in his sophomore year, La Noire established himself as a campus and community leader.
“At a young age, I always took it upon myself to try and bring the teams I’ve played on closer together. I learned you can still be a leader even if you don’t have the captain title,” he said.
In addition to traveling to Panama last spring with Global Brigades, an alternative spring break trip focused on service, La Noire was also part of the group that founded the branch project, Business Brigades. While service at UMBC is important to La Noire, he also focuses a large amount of his time on endeavors that hit closer to home. Since 2009, he has served as a Latino Student Fund Ambassador, a program that tutors underprivileged Latino students and a program that La Noire directly benefited from growing up. He attributes the program with “getting me to where I am today.”
Having parents who emigrated from Peru to the United States in the 1990s, La Noire feels especially strongly about giving back to the Latino community and honoring his roots. His connection to his heritage and his love of soccer collided recently after Peru’s 2-0 upset against New Zealand to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, their first appearance since 1982. “It was such a big deal to my family and friends for Peru to finally make it that we decided we had to do something crazy if they won. We all decided to dye our hair blond to commemorate the occasion.”
La Noire feels that his family values are directly responsible for his philanthropic ideals. “My parents were immigrants turned American citizens. We’ve lived through some struggle and even though we’re in a better position now, my parents never hesitate to help their family and friends. They instilled that in me. You can achieve so much but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t pass it on. I can only do so much but hopefully, the person after me can do more.”
After attending the Leadership Forum, La Noire walked away with the confidence to grow his efforts as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), already putting plans into motion for how to implement some of the ideas sparked by the conference.
“We are very proud of Alex and his role with the NCAA leadership forum. His role as a leader on our team on and off the field continues to evolve and I am excited about working with him going forward,” said Pete Caringi, men’s soccer coach.
Banner image: Photo courtesy of UMBC men’s soccer team. Photo courtesy of Alex La Noire.