Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Athletics and Excellence

On Sunday, February 13, the University of Rhode Island celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day – and it was a great day for URI. Several of our women’s teams hosted hundreds of girls interested in sports, giving them a glimpse of high-level athletic competition. Concurrently, we hosted a reception for alumni who had competed on our women’s teams for URI. Over a hundred of our alumni participated, women who had made an impact while at URI, and who have continued to succeed and lead in their professional and personal lives following graduation. That was followed by a terrific game between Cathy Inglese’s Rams and St. Louis University, which the Rams won 68-54 behind senior Megan Shoniker’s 35 points and junior Lara Gaspar’s 20. On Saturday Jim Baron’s Rams had pulled out an exciting overtime win against Charlotte 71-70 on Jamal Wilson’s put back basket at the buzzer. The Rams were led by 20 and 19 point efforts from sophomores Akeem Richmond Nikola Malesevic, respectively. Marquis Jones played all 45 minutes and dished out 10 assists despite being a bit under the weather. All in all, a terrific weekend for athletics at the University of Rhode Island.

As good as it is to see our teams succeed on the courts, in the water, or on the field (and it is great) I am just as pleased to witness the success of our student athletes in the classroom and in our community. As a group, student athletes do very well academically at the University of Rhode Island because academic success is a priority for them, our coaches, and Athletics Director Thorr Bjorn. You will find our student athletes in practically every major offered at URI, including our most demanding. Our student athletes also contribute in many, many ways to serving the larger community and to building a strong community here at URI. They are involved and engaged, and they make a difference. They continue to make a difference long after they have left URI. I have met dozens of alumni who competed for the University of Rhode Island and, invariably, I have been impressed by their achievements following graduation.

Let me give credit where credit is due. Bill Reynolds and Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal were right when they indicated that the greatest legacy of URI athletics is our players. And it is a legacy that we can be very proud of.