Kestyn named first Hartley scholarship recipient


Robert “Bobby” Kestyn, a graduate student thrower on George Mason University’s track and field team, has been named the inaugural recipient of the Becky Hartley Memorial Scholarship.

Kestyn Track and Field
Robert “Bobby” Kestyn. Photo by George Mason Athletics

Rebecca “Becky” Hartley was an assistant track and field coach from 2004 to 2022, as well as the assistant vice president for research integrity and assurance in the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact from 2015 to 2022. After her death in October 2022, a scholarship was established in her name with a lead gift of $100,000.

Hartley helped coach her student-athletes to more than 50 all-time marks in Mason’s record books, several Most Outstanding Field Performers, and an NCAA Woman of the Year semifinalist.

“[Becky] literally built the throwing program [at Mason] from nothing,” said Head Coach Andrew Gerard. “Selecting an appropriate candidate for this first ‘awarding’ of the scholarship was a particularly special one, especially since she recruited and worked with a number of the current throwers—including Bobby—prior to her passing.”

“Bobby was an easy selection—he personifies all the attributes Becky looked for and valued in her throwers,” Gerard added. “As a freshman, Bobby came in as a relatively unheralded high school thrower, but Becky saw potential. Becky always looked for the best in people, encouraging them to better themselves, and strive for constant improvement. Bobby has bought in to that mentality wholeheartedly. Since struggling both in the classroom and in the throwing circles his freshman year, he has dedicated himself to maturing as a person, student and athlete, and the results have shown that.”

A native of Fairfax, Kestyn is now on Mason's all-time list for five different disciplines: Indoor and outdoor shot put, discus, hammer, and weight throw.

“Beyond [his athletic accomplishments], he is an exemplary leader on our team, has righted his ship academically, and has thrived athletically all through a dedication to seeking consistent improvement,” Gerard said, all of which made Kestyn the right choice for the inaugural awarding of the scholarship.

“I am very humbled to receive this [scholarship] and especially honored to be the first recipient,” said Kestyn. “Coach Becky was a very influential person in my life and someone who picked me up at my weakest moments. Her coaching made me a better thrower but more importantly her mentorship, support, and overall kindness made me a better person. I aspire to be like Coach Becky.”

The Coach Becky Hartley Memorial Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to a student who competes in the throwing events in the Mason men’s or women’s track and field programs. Help support the Coach Becky Hartley Memorial Endowed Scholarship.