L.E.A.D. offers opportunity for student-athletes

While the University of Georgia always has afforded its student-athletes some of the most outstanding athletic and academic experiences in the nation, since 2010 it also has offered unique leadership and community service opportunities through the UGA Athletic Association Student-Athlete Leadership Academy, known as L.E.A.D.

The UGA Athletic Association initiated L.E.A.D. to encourage leadership and development in its most promising student-athletes. Following an application process and their acceptance into the program, inductees are provided with the resources necessary to compete for top conference and national awards as well as postgraduate scholarships.

Inductees are expected to exhibit high ethical conduct and to attend meetings and events.

“The Leadership Academy provides an outstanding opportunity for a select group of our student-athletes to further their leadership journey,” said J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “These students are highly motivated and engaged in the total collegiate experience, and we are proud to have them represent UGA and the Athletic Association.”

Sixteen high-achieving student-athletes have been selected for the 2014-15 class. They will be inducted into the program during a ceremony on Oct. 20, joining a prestigious group of 68 current and former members, including six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Allison Schmitt and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Aaron Murray.

Student-athletes are chosen for induction based on academic and athletic success, leadership skills, campus and community service involvement, and recommendations of head coaches and academic counselors. Following induction, student-athletes have the opportunity to meet and interact with local, state and industry leaders. The goal is to have at least one annual visit to companies, facilities and areas where superb leadership has had a visible impact on the organization or the surrounding community.

“L.E.A.D. gives us an opportunity to recognize and foster development for those student-athletes who do what we ask them to do,” said Executive Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Carla Williams, who was instrumental in the launch of the program. “We want them to have the opportunity to be leaders in the classroom, in the community, in their sport and among their peers.”

Beyond their playing careers, members of L.E.A.D will have the opportunity to compete for a highly competitive graduate assistant position within the Athletic Association. The assistantship includes a tuition waiver and a stipend of approximately $12,000. Only L.E.A.D. members are considered for these opportunities.

The 2014 L.E.A.D. inductees are:

  • Michael Bennett, football
  • Olivia Boggs, swimming and diving
  • Sylvie Brick, golf
  • Marjorie Butler, basketball
  • Reggie Carter, football
  • Chelsea Davis, gymnastics
  • Alina Jerjomina, tennis
  • Morgan Justiss, equestrian
  • Houston Kessler, basketball
  • Jordan Mattern, swimming and diving
  • Sean McLaughlin, baseball
  • Gaby Smiley, volleyball
  • Kisean Smith, track and field
  • Ty Stewart, swimming and diving
  • Lauren Teknipp, volleyball
  • Chantal VanLandeghem, swimming and diving

First posted: Sept. 21, 2014