The University of Maryland announces a $21.25 million gift from Barry and Mary Gossett to establish an innovative, three-part support model for the academic success of student-athletes. The Barry and Mary Gossett Center for Academic and Personal Excellence aims to ensure the development of UMD’s student-athletes in both athletics and academics. In collaboration with the Office of the Provost, the Gossett Center will provide student-athletes with the foundation needed to be successful global citizens and make a positive transition to life after college.
“Demanding athletic schedules pose unique challenges to student-athletes, causing barriers to internships and part-time jobs that help students develop important skills during their time in college,” says Gossett, a University System of Maryland regent and former chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. “Because of that, we were drawn to the idea of providing student-athletes with the real-life experiences they need to help them succeed in their future careers beyond athletics.”
“This remarkable gift will give our student-athletes the best support available to succeed academically, further their personal growth and tackle the unique challenges they face,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Barry and Mary Gossett have always been there for our students, but their generosity and vision in funding this center will leave a lasting imprint on young lives.”
The center will focus on a critical gap in collegiate student-athlete development—career transition and professional success post-graduation, addressing the fact that few student-athletes go on to play their sport professionally. The Gossett Center will significantly enhance and expand programming offered through what is currently called the Academic Support and Career Services Unit in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“Through their contributions to the university’s Incentive Awards Program, our business and engineering schools, the Do Good initiative and more, the Gossetts have time after time shown their commitment to the academic success of all UMD students,” said UMD’s Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “We are grateful that the Gossett Center will provide the same type of specialized support to our student-athletes as we provide for many other student populations on campus, such as veterans and first generation college students, among many more.”
The Gossett Center will assist students as they take an active role in their education alongside their athletic and academic support team, and leverage other university resources. To provide this holistic development, the center will focus on a three-part model:
The Path: The center’s unique model will begin with activities and programs a student-athlete needs to succeed academically and personally while participating in athletics. From developing personal, career and development goals to participating in an enhanced internship program, students-athletes will follow the Path to graduate on time and with the skills needed to be successful in their futures. Building upon the current “InTERPship Academy,” rising junior student-athletes will have the opportunity to be selected for the Gossett Fellows Program. Gossett Fellows participate in paid summer internships that will give them real-world experience in their area of interest while still taking part in their sport.
The Bridge: Graduating student-athletes can struggle with the transition into professional careers. With the Bridge, students will have access to mentors who will help prepare them to pursue their goals after graduation. In addition, Gossett Fellows may receive a Gossett Award to support the next chapter of their professional careers, from graduate school to service trips to starting ventures.
The Horizon: After working through their individualized career plan, gaining work experience through internships and being carefully guided by mentors, the Horizon for student-athletes focuses on giving back to current students. Alumni will remain a part of the center’s programming after graduation through the TERPS Career Network, an electronic platform that connects current and former student-athlete graduates, complemented by career fairs and other campus events. In addition, these former student-athletes can serve as mentors to current student-athletes and contribute to the program that paved the way for their personal and professional success.
“We are committed to supporting our student-athletes not only through our premier athletic program, but by producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in local, state and global communities,” said Damon Evans, executive athletic director. “Through the programs provided by the Gossett Center, we will be positioned better than ever to recruit and retain world-class athletes by supporting their athletic and academic careers from the moment they step on campus to well after graduation.”
This historic investment comes as the university plans to launch its capital campaign next month, of which Gossett generously serves as a campaign co-chair.
The Gossett Center programs are planned to begin implementation in fall 2018.