F&M Stories

Running Toward Success, On and Off the Gridiron: Mitch Wagner ’24

Mitch Wagner ’24 received the Jeffrey M. Chairnoff ’88 Memorial Scholarship

In the mountains of Pennsylvania’s coal region, Mitch Wagner ’24 enjoyed a highly successful scholastic and athletic career. He helped lead the football team at North Schuylkill High School to league and district championships while earning the title of class salutatorian.

Wagner searched for a college where he could have a similar chance to excel on and off the field. Thanks to the generosity of the family of Jeffrey Chairnoff ’88, he found that place at F&M.

“F&M’s combination of high academics and competitive athletics was very convincing,” says Wagner, who is majoring in business, organizations and society. “I also loved the small campus environment and sense of community that it offered. And I believed F&M would set me up best for success after graduation.”

Wagner is the recipient of the College’s Jeffrey M. Chairnoff ’88 Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a promising student from Schuylkill County, Pa. The scholarship is named for Jeffrey Chairnoff ’88, who was a managing director for the mortgage finance group of Sandler O’Neill.

Jeffrey died at work in the South Tower of the World Trade Center in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, just a few days after celebrating his 35th birthday. The fund was initiated in his memory and honor by Hedda and Hugh Chairnoff, Jeffrey’s parents, and has been supported by family and friends. 

Mitch Wagner '24

“Finding a way to pay for school is a problem most students have to struggle with, so I am very grateful to get some help from this scholarship,” Wagner says. “It has taken some stress away and allowed me to put more of my focus on the main reasons I’m here: school and football.”

Wagner says his time at F&M has been filled with too many good memories to count. A running back for the Diplomats, he cherishes the good times he’s had with teammates at the dining hall, at practice and after kickoff each Saturday. He helped lead this year’s Diplomats to a 7-3 overall record and third place in the Centennial Conference.

“One thing I’ll never forget from this season was our game-winning drive against Ursinus at home, where we won on the last play of the game,” he says.

The powerful running back has succeeded in the classroom, too. He is three-time Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll recipient and was a member of the 2022 College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team.

Now Wagner is excited to think about the future — one he will tackle with the benefit of an F&M education.

“I would like to one day run my own business, but before that I plan on pursuing a career in the world of marketing,” he says. “I am incredibly grateful for the help I’ve received through my scholarship. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”

Franklin & Marshall's fifth annual Day of Giving begins March 19. We're counting on your support to reach our goal of 1,787 alumni, students, families, faculty, professional staff and friends of the College. Early giving is open now. Make your gift here.

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