-- By Kariesha Martinez '19 --
Mike Giliberto grew up in East Hartford, Conn. where he went to East Catholic High School. There, he found his love and refined his skills in both baseball and football. When it came time to pick a college, he knew that he wanted a school that would make academics a priority. As any athlete would know, Wesleyan spares nothing in giving the best education to every student. Thanks to Wesleyan's emphasis on a great education and, more importantly, Coach Bill MacDermott's welcoming attitude during recruitment, Giliberto made a choice that would change his life for the better.
Being the football superstar that he is, Giliberto started all four years of his career, playing fullback. Of the four seasons he played, it's hard to pick a favorite memory. Giliberto remarks, "I couldn't just give you one but if I had to, the comraderies and the relationships that were built and that continue on to this day, no doubt, a bunch of friendships that I made there [Wesleyan], teammates that still to this day are very strong friendships.
These relationships and comradery are extremely apparent when playing against other schools, especially amongst the Little Three or in-state rival Trinity. Although they had a lot of heart, they were unable to beat Amherst or the Bantams during his four-year career, "The only games I remember are the ones that we lost!" Regardless of what games they won or lost, the team stuck through it together. Even up to this day, Giliberto stays in touch with a lot of teammates, including current Athletic Director, Mike Whalen '83, who Giliberto played with for two years.
After graduating in 1985, Giliberto jump-started his career at Connecticut National Bank, doing their management training program. The bank was soon bought out by Shawmut Bank, where he started to work after the buyout. He continued his education close to home at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and underwent more management training through night classes. He transferred again when he found himself at a new firm, Advest, based in Hartford. Currently, he works at OppenheimerFunds, running their municipal bond trading and underwriting department. Giliberto manages 13 people and has been trading and underwriting municipal bonds for about 30 years.
Although extremely accomplished, one of his proudest victories is his two daughters, the eldest a first year at Marist, the younger a senior at Loomis, right here in Connecticut. He has also been married to his wife for twenty-four years. A true Connecticut native, Giliberto lives in Glastonbury and frequents Wesleyan to catch as many games as he can, including watching the baseball, basketball, and, of course, football games.
Like any alum, it's easy to reflect on, what some of us, would call the best days, especially when you're a Wesleyan alum and living so close by. We asked Giliberto what it's like being an alum and how it feels seeing Wesleyan now. "I would like to stress the overall experience of both academics and athletics. It's so important and it's great to see the recent success at Wesleyan, not just in football but overall-- with the men's lacrosse team winning the national championship -- there's a pride factor there.
We've always had a tremendous reputation academically, but now athletics is starting to achieve these accomplishments. It's important for the school and it certainly brings a lot of pride to alums like myself. It's so important to continue on. They've had so much success in the past five to ten years, and it's just tremendous to see."
Giliberto represents everything we want Wesleyan athletes to be. He excelled not only on the field but in his classes, as well. He has used his resources and connections to build a life that Wesleyan has pushed him to create. Most importantly, he still comes back to support those who are in his same shoes. Whether it's showing up to the games or just stopping for old times sake, Giliberto is an inspiration of what we hope all athletic alums will be.