The Department of Health & Kinesiology recognized more than a dozen outstanding students at its spring 2015 graduate and student awards reception, but Dr. Gregg Bennett, professor of sport management and director of the Texas A&M Center for Sport Management Research and Education (CSMRE), named one student award after a well-known practitioner in the field.
Julianne Newman, sport management senior, received the inaugural Kevin Sumlin Diversity Award, whose namesake is the first African-American head coach in the history of the Texas A&M football program.
With the establishment of the award, Dr. Bennett hoped to celebrate a student who embodied CSMRE’s reputation for diversity scholarship by excelling in the classroom and through extracurricular activities.
Based on those criteria, he said, “Julianne has clearly done both very well and she definitely captures the spirit of the award how we widely defined it.”
Throughout her time in the sport management program, Newman has volunteered for a variety of domestic and international philanthropic social initiatives. Most notably, in June 2013, she participated in the Mercy Project, an economic development initiative that rescues children from slavery in Ghana and provides them with the opportunity for a brighter future. During that summer, she travelled for a mission trip to Ghana and raised more than $4,000 for the initiative.
Dr. John Singer, who taught Newman in his diversity in sport organizations class during the fall 2013 semester, said, “Julianne has been hands-down the best overall student and certainly the most well-rounded student that I have had in my undergraduate classes at Texas A&M.”
He explained the leadership she displayed in that SPMT 336 class spurred various diversity initiatives in the program and ultimately moved him to nominate her for the award.
"Julianne has been hands-down the best overall student and certainly the most well-rounded student that I have had in my undergraduate classes at TAMU." - Dr. John Singer, associate professor of sport managementTweet This
Dr. Bennett and his colleagues felt Sumlin would be the ideal namesake for an award to honor students like Newman, especially considering his record of success.
“His accomplishments as a college football coach are incredible given the current landscape of college and professional football in regard to diversity,” said Dr. Bennett.
“He has been a major force in affecting positive change in the football program. He is incredibly enhancing the university brand, based upon the widely held belief that these programs are the ‘front porch’ of the university. The lack of minority head coaches in NCAA football programs is widely known and lamented. Therefore, he has broken through major barriers, an accomplishment that cannot be overstated.”
To learn more about how the Texas A&M Center for Sport Management Research and Education (CSMRE) advocates for diversity in sport management on a large scale, visit: http://csmre.net