Michael J. Caruso 1967
Michael J. Caruso graduated from Lehigh in 1967 with a B.A. in international relations, and was awarded the university Scholar-Athlete Award and the Student Leadership Trophy as a senior. After graduation, he worked as wrestling coach at both the University of Virginia and Lehigh before founding his own business in 1971. He is president of Caruso Benefits Group, Inc., a benefits management firm specializing in health care, now owned by KNBT Bancorp. Caruso served on the board of Orasure Technologies Inc., and currently is on the Preferred Agent Advisory Committees of both Capital Blue Cross and Highmark Blue Shield.
He was a three-time NCAA wrestling champion, inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1991. In 1993, he became a charter member of the Lehigh University Hall of Fame. Caruso was a member of the executive committee of the Wrestling Scholars Campaign. He contributed to the renovations of Grace Hall and the Wrestling Room in Taylor Gym, dedicating that gift to his former coach, Gerry Leeman and its new adjunct plaza to his late father, Michael “Baskets” Caruso. He continues to actively support the Lewis Wrestling Dinner. In 2003, the Caruso “VIP” Lounge in Grace Hall was named in his honor.
Caruso established his first scholarship at Lehigh in 1991, the Michael “Baskets” Caruso Memorial Wrestling Scholarship, to honor his father and the university’s tradition of wrestling excellence. As part of Shine Forever: The Campaign for Lehigh, Caruso established the Caruso Family Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of his late wife, Sandye Caruso, his late sister, Rosemarie Caruso-Myers, and his late father. Caruso chairs the scholarship endowment committee for the campaign and is currently a university trustee.