From the AD
Dear Lafayette Leopards Family:
The 2020-21 school year was unlike any other. We found ourselves amid a global pandemic that disrupted academic and athletic pursuits.
Those new challenges forced us to improvise and come together as a community. We used that opportunity for personal growth and reflection through virtual programming for our staff. The time included coach- and student-led discussions about difficult topics in social justice and included staff multicultural training. Ultimately, the work led to the launch of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan. We were Climbing the Hill, just in a different way.
While we waited for medical and safety guidance to support our desire to back in action, we continued to prepare for the moment when we would return to athletic competition. The fall seasons were postponed and the start of the winter campaigns delayed until after the New Year.
As we moved to 2021, we found ourselves ready for athletic competition—with all 23 sports competing at the same time. Our “return to play” included COVID testing and indoor masking, and our student-athletes showed their adaptability and eagerness to compete. I credit our student-athletes and coaches for their ability to remain positive and show resilience during an incredibly unpredictable time.
2020-21 was also the third year of our five-year plan. In that year, we lent great attention to the overall wellness and mental health of our student-athletes, providing increased availability to health professionals to meet the ever-increasing mental health needs of our athletes.
We turned our attention to laying the foundation for an athletics fundraising campaign which is in the initial stages and with a public announcement soon to follow. It is a major step forward in providing the funds to support a championship culture and something which has not been undertaken previously at the College. Within that framework, we have begun fundraising for one of the first capital projects of the campaign, the Sports Performance and Lacrosse Center.
Externally, we found new ways to connect with our alumni, many of whom were missing their personal connections. Primetime Pards, a monthly interview show, reunited us virtually with some of our most-venerated athletic alumni, and more than 30 virtual events reached more than 3,000 alums.
Athletically, our teams did not disappoint, as men’s soccer earned a Top-25 ranking for the first time since 1996 while managing to go undefeated in Patriot League play. We featured five conference major award winners, including a Patriot League Player of the Year and WNBA draftee.
The PARDees in May marked the first time in the school year in which we gathered as a group. We honored the best of our student-athletes and ushered in the first two classes of Chi Alpha Sigma.
I am glad to share this annual update with you and I thank you for your continued support in strengthening our culture and community. We’re Climbing the Hill together and are excited about what is happening on campus, as we all work together in support of our student-athletes!
Sherryta Freeman, Director of Athletics
Role of Athletics at Lafayette College
- Integrates with the educational experience by providing student-athletes the opportunity to succeed at the highest level in academics and NCAA Division I intercollegiate competition.
- Cultivates committed collaborators and leaders of consequence who distinguish themselves during their college experience and flourish in the world following graduation.
- Develops a more engaging campus experience for the entire community, inspiring a shared allegiance and a lifelong commitment to the College.
- Connects the College’s generations and extended community by building spirit, enthusiasm, and pride in athletic successes.
- Brings positive national and international visibility to the College by highlighting the academic and athletic values of the institution and the Patriot League.
— Athletics Review Steering Committee Adoption June 16, 2017
Definition of Athletic Success at Lafayette College
Lafayette College, through teamwork across all campus constituents, departments, and support services, is committed to achieving excellence in its NCAA Division I athletics program. Success is measured by the ability to create and maintain a winning culture that affords its teams with the opportunity to regularly compete for championships. Success also is achieved through excellence in academic performance, leadership development, and community engagement.
— Steering Committee Adoption June 16, 2017