Eagle Scout, Alumnus Wins Duke of Edinburgh's Award
June 29, 2011 – A Georgetown alumnus has become one of the first Americans to earn the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Matt Merighi (C’09), an Eagle Scout, received the bronze level award from the Duke of Edinburgh’s son, His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, during a reception on Capitol Hill June 20.
The award represents a partnership between the Duke of Edinburgh and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Winners receive the award by demonstrating their dedication to community service, physical fitness and special skills and “adventurous journey.”
“For me personally, it’s nice … that I went for something, shot from the hip a little bit, but charged forward and ended up getting it by working with a friend of mine,” says Merighi, whose friend Ben Lacy also earned the award.
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, created the award in 1956.
The Young Americans’ Challenge is open to Boy Scouts between the ages of 14 and 25.
“Matt and Ben have both proved to be exemplary citizens and Scouts,” says BSA National Capital Area Council Scout Executive Les Baron. “These young men add to the distinction of our [council] by being the first two to achieve this award though scouting in the United States.”
Starting the process in January, Merighi began playing broomball, a sport similar to hockey, and improving his play
“I said to myself that I wanted to score at least one goal during the season and I ended up scoring two and having a couple of assists,” says Merighi, who also gave back to the sport’s league by volunteering his time with timekeeping and scorekeeping.
He also picked up street hockey, became a captain for a team in a league and volunteered for the Boy Scouts’ National Capital Area Council.
“It had been something I’d been interested in for a while,’” Merighi says. “I think that’s one of the strengths of the award … it gives you an incentive to say ‘why the heck not’ and go for something.”
Merighi, who currently is a country director in the Office of the Undersecretary of the Air Force for International Affairs, added that getting the award has inspired him to get more involved with the partnership.
“What I’m really hoping is it’ll be a conduit to be involved with the development of the program in the U.S.,” he says. “That was something I had never intended when I first thought about it, but … I found myself already suggesting ideas and ways to expand it in the U.S.”
At Georgetown, Merighi was part of the Philodemic Society and the International Club and helped start Georgetown University Ping Pong.
“I really enjoyed getting connected back to the community,” he says. “I wasn’t able to do it as actively after I left Georgetown and went into the working world for a while. It was a way for me to kind of reconnect with [the university’s values].”