Rory Foundation links up with Letterkenny IT to host American basketball stars

Rory Foundation links up with Letterkenny IT to host American basketball stars
Tom Comack @dgldemocrat

Letterkenny IT are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with the Sport Changes Life and the Rory Foundation.

Sport Changes Life launched their Victory Scholar Program with The Rory Foundation at Nike Headquarters Office in New York City on Monday night.

Paul McDevitt attended the launch on behalf of Letterkenny IT. Four-time major golf champion Rory McIlroy and founder of The Rory Foundation, hosted the event which was also attended by the Victory Scholars, their families and invited guests.

Letterkenny IT will host two of those Victory Scholars for the 2016/17 Academic year. They are Stephen Castello who has graduated from the University of Sciences in Philadelphia and Jack Mackey who graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Both of them attended their respective Universities on Basketball scholarships and featured prominently on their respective college teams. Stephen will enrol on the MA in Marketing and Jack will enrol on the HD in Financial Services Technology.

In addition to their studies, Stephen and Jack will work in the local community bringing the sport of basketball to the young people of Donegal.

As the new Ambassador, Rory McIlroy welcomed the partnership between Sport Changes Life and the Rory Foundation.

Speaking at Nike HQ on Monday night, McIlroy said: “My Foundation and Sport Changes Life share so many ideals and objectives that giving support to their programme was an obvious choice for me. The Victory Scholar students are driven young athletes hoping to further develop their skills at Irish universities while assisting local community outreach initiatives. Not every young person has the opportunities and advantages I had growing up, so I really hope these ambitious students will make a difference to many young lives and be a force for positive change in communities most in need.”

The 23 Victory Scholars will embark on a life changing year of mentoring young people through sport in the communities of Northern Ireland and Ireland while studying for a Masters Degree in a number of prestigious universities while continuing to play the sport they love. These NCAA student-athletes have completed a rigorous selection process ensuring they embody the values of the Victory Program, first designed by Co-Founder Professor Deirdre Brennan (Ulster University). In 2016 Sport Changes Life, in partnership with founding partner Ulster University and Chaka Travel, its Irish university partners, corporate partners and the Rory Foundation will provide the equivalent of circa 2.3 million dollars of education to 23 Victory Scholars at nine prestigious universities across the Island of Ireland with 6 Victory Scholars based, not far from Rory’s home, with the founding partner the Ulster University, Northern Ireland.


This event marks the beginning of the Scholars’ journey across the Atlantic to help change the lives of young people and enable them to develop a global perspective and build life-long friendships with people and communities throughout Ireland.

With this partnership, Sport Changes Life has expanded its Victory Scholars program to include two golf scholars based with founding partner Ulster University. Ulster University will also be home to four basketball scholars along with 17 Victory Scholars based in NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, Carlow IT, Waterford IT, Limerick IT, Cork IT, NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University and Letterkenny IT.

John Andy Bonar, Head of Enterprise Development at Letterkenny IT, stated: “We are very excited to be included in this programme.

“At Letterkenny IT we are conscious that sport plays a major role in young people’s lives and through this partnership we will ensure, that through these scholars, Letterkenny IT will promote that message to the young people of the north west.”

Paul McDevitt, a lecturer at Letterkenny IT, is a member of the North West Basketball board.

“It's is brilliant boost not only to basketball at the College, it is also a massive boost to the game in Donegal and the north west region,” Paul told the Democrat/People’s Press at the weekend.

“They have played the game at a high level and as well as coaching in the region they will also play for the IT team in the National Basketball League.

“Their arrival has prompted the LYIT to enter a team in the National League.”

Stephen Castello and Jack Mackey are due to arrive on September 1st.