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Covering his Bases

Alumnus preaches benefits of hard work, dedication, and following one’s passion

Mike Griffin, ’00, spent a good portion of his college career behind the steering wheel. Each day, he traveled almost daily from his home in Westwood to what was then known as Bridgewater State College, then off to Boston where he worked.

He didn’t necessarily mind the commute; he knew ahead of time what his college experience would entail.

“I had two sick parents at home, Griffin said. “I’m the youngest of my siblings and everyone else had already moved out of the house, so it fell on me to take care of them.”

When exploring his options, Griffin was looking for a school not only close to home – but since he was forced to pay his own way – one that was also affordable.

“I looked at all the state schools, but after I learned about the reasonable cost to go to Bridgewater, and the great people I met on (a campus) tour, I knew it was the best fit,” Griffin said. “Bridgewater offered a great environment for what I needed.”

As an undergraduate he worked two part-time jobs inspired by his love of baseball, a passion passed down by his father.

When Griffin wasn’t in class, he was working as a vendor selling hotdogs and ice cream to hungry Red Sox fans at Fenway Park. His other job was umpiring local games.

“I would get up in the morning, take classes at Bridgewater, umpire a game in the afternoon, and then go work a game at Fenway Park at night,” Griffin said.

He was often grateful that Bridgewater offered spots on campus where he could manage his busy schedule and get organized.

“The commuter café and Maxwell Library were my two launching pads,” Griffin said.

He does, however, credit the hectic pace for helping him develop important life skills.

“Working full time, going to school, paying for college…it all helped me to learn to be disciplined,” Griffin said. “I had to learn management skills…I certainly grew up fast while at Bridgewater.”

After earning a degree in recreation, he went on to work for Westwood’s Parks and Recreation Department, serving as program manager for 14 years.

Today he is a technology consultant for Xerox Business Solutions but, surprisingly, has also held onto his part-time gigs that helped pay for college. 

This past season marks the 32nd year Griffin has worked as a vendor at Fenway Park, and last year he was selected as one of the umpires to officiate the Division III College World Series. 

“I think baseball keeps me grounded with all the other things that come up in my life. If I’m down, or feeling bad, I think about baseball,” he said. “I just love being around baseball. And the extra money helps.”

When it comes to the sport he loves, Griffin does have one more box he’d like to check off his list. In all the years he’s umpired games, he’s never gotten to call a game at his alma mater.

“I’ve never been scheduled there, maybe they think I will be biased,” he joked. “We’ll see what the future holds.”

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