Betsy Stephenson joined Emory as director of athletics
and recreation in July, she not only gave up her post
as associate director at a highly competitive NCAA Division
I schoolthe University of California at Los Angelesand
moved across the country, she also came to a physical
education facility under major renovation.
Stephenson says the move felt right because of what lies
at the heart of the Emory athletics program: the student
is a common element between Emory and UCLA, which is student
athletes who want to achieve at a high level both academically
and athletically, Stephenson says. The differences
have to do with focus. There is more of a participant
focus at a Division III school versus a spectator focus
at a Division I institution. For me, the participant side
is where my passion lies.
first priority is to see the building renovation to completion.
The project, originally planned to fix the Woodruff Physical
Education Centers leaky roof, will add a new, 80,000-square-foot
upper story. Already Stephenson has had an impact on the
WoodPECs future by reconfiguring some aspects of
the new space. For instance, all the fitness machines
and equipment will be relocated to a fitness corridor
on the upper level, rather than being spread out in various
areas as they are now.
the facility up to par is really about programming, about
serving the needs of the campus population, she
says. We need to be a rallying point and a source
of pride, an environment where people come to care for
body, mind, and spirit.
also is working with Emorys Office of Development
and University Relations to seek new opportunities for
funding and support dedicated specifically to the athletic
challenge is trying to maximize our resources and identify
additional resources to keep our programs accomplishing
great things, she says. That doesnt
mean changing our identity, but there are inflationary
costs associated with running these programs and facilities.
We need to make sure we put resources toward maintenance
goal high on Stephensons list is boosting student
interest in athleticsan ongoing challenge at Emory.
About 350 students participate in the Universitys
competitive varsity programs, while almost half of all
undergraduates join some type of club, intramural, or
fitness sport while at Emory. Still, turnout at competitive
events is traditionally low. Stephenson is hoping to find
some new ways to generate enthusiasm among students.
feel really good about the total experience here,
she says. But I think there could be more team-to-team
and program-to-program support. The recreational programs
and club sports offer a mutual support link that can be
investigated and experimented with more. Our vision is
that if we create energy and enthusiasm around those events,
it will help our image as a campus. If this is the only
thing missing from what Emory has to offer, lets
fill that gap.
was a three-sport athlete in high school and played volleyball
for a year at the University of Kansas, where she went
on to serve as associate athletics director and senior
womens administrator from 1992 to 1996. During Stephensons
time at UCLA, the university won fifteen NCAA Division
I national championships.
Stephenson is a tremendous fit for our exemplary scholar-athletes
and dedicated coaching staff, says John Ford, senior
vice president of Campus Life. Im confident
she will provide strong leadership for Emorys athletics
and recreation programs, which have been a national model
for the successful integration of athletics and academics.
was a passion, something I wanted to stay close to,
Stephenson says. Athletics administration was a
natural transition for me.P.P.P.