April 27, 2012
Inspirational. Motivating. An awesome experience.
All were words used by Rice student-athletes to describe the year-long pilot program they experienced this year. Coordinated by the Rice Athletics' Student-Athlete Development Office, 27 graduates were recognized this week for completing the Student-Athlete Leadership Development Program.
Rice Athletics partnered with veteran leadership expert and sports performance coach Mike van Hoozer to coordinate the program, "Developing Leaders in Sports and in Life."
The Rice coaching staff selected "emerging leaders" from their teams to participate in the program.
Through a series of monthly sessions, participants were presented with different lessons on leadership, such as the development of their own leadership roles, effective communication, conflict management, and activation of the potential of others. Additionally, five alumni returned to campus during the year to share their own stories of personal leadership and many participants shared their own leadership experiences with their peers.
"The student-athlete leadership program was an awesome experience," said Gabe Baker, a member of the Rice football team. "The program has been a great aid in my journey to make the most of my college career and prepare me for post-graduate experiences."
Women's tennis player Katie Gater added, "I learned to understand and see myself as a leader. The program instilled confidence in everyone and provided us with the belief that we have already come a long way in both becoming great leaders and understanding that in many everyday situations we constantly use our leadership skills. I have become more confident over this past year, understanding how to work best in a team not only by being a leader, but also by taking a step back and listening to others' suggestions and input."
The first year of the program was capped by this week's graduation with Rice University Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson speaking to the group and emphasizing the importance of developing leaders. Hutchinson spoke of Rice's original and continuing mission as a university that "produces leaders across the spectrum of human endeavor."
The program was funded corporately through Rice football letterman Bobby Dixon ('97) and Rice graduate Terrence Gee ('86) who lead their own strategy and operations consulting firm.
Student-athletes participating in the pilot program are listed below:
Basketball - Men's
Basketball - Women's
Cross Country - Men's
Cross Country - Women's
Joe Beck III
Tennis - Men's
Tennis - Women's
Track - Men's
Track - Women's