NADIIIAA and Josten’s Honor USM Athletics and SAAC for the Eighth Time
On Saturday, January 17, 2015, I was in Washington, DC, for the final day of the NCAA National Convention. At the conclusion of the day, which included conversations about the future of intercollegiate sports and voting on legislative proposals by the membership, the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIAA) held their annual post-convention reception and awards ceremony. As former president of the organization, I am acutely aware of the work of the organization, this event and the annual program.
This year, and for the eighth time since the Josten’s Awards were created, USM’s name was called for outstanding contributions in the area of community service. I was proud to walk to the stage and accept the award on behalf of USM Athletics and our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The recognition is important but the work that is done by our student-athletes is even more important; it makes a difference. I especially want to thank Assistant Athletic Director Meredith Bickford for her exceptional effort in leading and working with the members of the USM SAAC. Meredith has carried forward an already strong program and continues to develop and improve the work that is done by SAAC and the role that the students play at the University and in the life of the Athletic Department.
Since the creation of the SAAC Program by the NCAA, USM has been a leader and often an example for many other institutions. Both Meredith and myself have had the opportunity to speak on the development of a campus SAAC and have helped guide other schools in getting their initiatives going. I’m very proud of what we have done at USM and all of the young men and women who have made a commitment to make a difference for the greater community. Once again, the work performed last year by the USM SAAC and other members of our student-athlete population, was cited for excellence by Josten’s and the NADIIIAA. My sincere thanks go out to Meredith and all of our participating student-athletes, as well as other members of the staff who have given of themselves to make a difference for children, deserving organizations and the greater community that we serve.
Service to the community is one of the five core principles and goals of our athletic department and we continue to focus consistent time and effort in that area. As a department, we subscribe to the original tenants of the NCAA Life Skills Program, which include: Academic Achievement, Athletic Performance, Personal Development, Career Development and Service to Community. As we move forward to improve the work of our department and the overall student experience at USM, we will continue to be true to our philosophy and those five goals. This is clearly evident in our new initiatives including the Full Potential Program (kicking off on January 23rd) and the work being done by the Fan Experience Committee. Look for more examples of excellent work to come and new initiatives to help support our student-athletes and the community that we serve.
Once again, my thanks and gratitude goes out to the members of the USM SAAC and all of our student-athletes who give of themselves to make a difference for others. Thank you, well done, great job, congratulations to everyone involved. You continue to make us all proud.