Eric Sorenson

Towarnicky has his sights set on assisting poverty-striken areas after graduation

by Eric Sorenson May 03, 2010 in Baseball

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You know those university promos where a school will boast about how its students go out and make a difference in the world? Well Appalachian State’s David Towarnicky is a prime example of that mantra. In fact, if ASU doesn’t come out with a television spot or a website promo with David as their centerpiece, they’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
It’s not as if being a team leader while playing first base, hitting .300-plus in three of his four seasons and never committing more than five errors in any one season are reason enough. The exploits of this four-year starter on the field are well documented. It’s off the field that the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award candidate makes the biggest impact.

Consider that he’s a perfect 4.0 student with a double major in business and finance and risk insurance management with a minor in international business. Also, he is deeply committed to his public service off the field and plans to help the financial needs of poverty-stricken areas of the world after he graduates. With all that as a backdrop, you soon realize that Towarnicky is as well-rounded and world-minded as a 22-year old can be. Or, more accurately, the kind of person any parent would want their son to be.

His contributions as one of the 10 prestigious Appalachian Ambassadors on the ASU campus makes him directly responsible for spearheading many off-field, in-the-community programs, like the annual campus-wide canned food drive and the chief organizer of the community service project with the Crossnore School, a non-profit home and school for abused children. The latter program he refers to as “the most rewarding experience I have had through any of my extra-curricular activities at ASU.”

But to Towarnicky, his worldly aspirations are quite simply his raison d’etre.

“Whether I go to grad school or not, one of my passions is to go overseas and study microfinance,” he says without hesitation. “Being in a global marketplace, any kind of overseas exposure you can get just adds to your value in the financial workforce.”
Towarnicky also sees the bigger picture in going overseas, not only adding to his value as a global financier of the future, but also to the good of underdeveloped countries.

“There are so many countries out there that don’t have the banking systems that we do in the United States. We really take it for granted,” he says with the aplomb of a seasoned analyst. “When all these developing countries have entrepreneurs that have good ideas and want to start up their own business, there’s just nowhere for them to go to get the money to start them.

“Here in the U.S., you can walk down the street to a bank and get some kind of commercial loan to start up a business. In a lot of developing countries, they just don’t have that,” Towarnicky explains. “What microfinance does is help bring capital to those kind of places that need it. It would really help some poverty-stricken areas where people have the ideas that could work and want to help create jobs.”

The best part of it all? It will be his very own hands helping to cure some of the world’s financial ills.

“I think studying microfinance and helping out these poorer countries is just something that I’m really passionate about,” he states proudly. “Anytime you can directly affect worldwide change, that’s really big and it’s just something I really want to do with my life, something that I’ll be excited about doing every morning I wake up.”

That’s heady stuff for sure. It almost makes writing about his baseball exploits seem so pedestrian. But just like his world-changing aspirations, Towarnicky has also affected change in the Mountaineer baseball program as well. Since he arrived on the Boone, North Carolina, campus - and after turning down a chance to go to Harvard - the ‘Neers have won 33, 32 and 33 games in his first three years. For comparison’s sake, consider that ASU won just 44 games from 2004-2006.

And this season looks like it could be a watershed year as ASU enters the month of May with 31 wins already and with an RPI ranking of 40. In other words, the Mountaineers are in prime at-large consideration for the NCAA tournament.

“That would be a dream come true,” Towarnicky beams while talking about the possibility of making the Big Dance. “Coach (Chris) Pollard has worked so hard to bring the program up to the level it is right now, I just want to get there for him.”

Again, did you notice his sense of contributing to the greater cause in that statement? That’s David Towarnicky for you in a nutshell. It’s never about him. It’s about the teamwork. It’s about the greater good.

“When coach Pollard got here, this place was in shambles,” he says. “The coaching staff has done an unbelievable job of improving everything - the facilities, the attitude of the players, the community support. I just think it would be so awesome to make the Regionals.”

In a strange twist of irony, Towarnicky would also be making another typical-of-him sacrifice if the Mountaineers do make the NCAA tournament this June. It would mean pushing his graduation date from December to the following spring of 2011.

“It’s because of my international business minor. I’m required to have six hours of studying overseas to complete it, so I’ve got a flight lined up to go to Germany five days after the Southern Conference tournament, so that I can complete my international study.”

Then, he pauses with a smirk and says, “… but my hope is that I have to miss that flight and graduate next spring.”

Again, it’s all about what’s best for the rest and not just for him.