Salt Lake City, March 10, 2005--Westminster College and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) are pleased to announce they have formed a partnership through which Westminster will serve as an Official Provider of Educational Services to athletes of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding. Westminster will become the only college in the country to hold this distinction. The centerpiece of this partnership is a tuition grant program that will allow U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding athletes to pursue their Olympic dreams and their educational aspirations at the same time.
Most Team athletes train to compete during their teens and early twenties, the years they might normally pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree. USSA recognized that an important aspect of developing world-class athletes was offering them intellectual stimulation as well as athletic training. They believe offering the athletes the opportunity to pursue a college education at Westminster will further motivate and push them toward achieving their dreams.
Bill Marolt, president and CEO of USSA remarked: “The athletes who compete on the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding are overachievers who will thrive in the academically rigorous environment Westminster offers. This partnership also will help the families of our athletes, who are looking to invest in their athletic careers and ultimately in their lives, know that they are getting a college education as well as world class Olympic training.”
Westminster College President Michael Bassis remarked: “We see this as a unique opportunity to enrich the lives of all of our students by having Olympic athletes on our campus, interacting with fellow Westminster students and sharing the remarkable international perspective they’ve gained from competing in World Cup races, World Championships and Olympic events all over the world.”
Most USSA athletes will retire from competitive skiing and snowboarding by the time they reach their 30s, so even if they’ve achieved the ultimate of Olympic successes, the fact that they have a college degree under their belts will be greatly beneficial and open up other avenues of career options. Westminster College is uniquely positioned to provide this service to U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding athletes, in part, because of its location just 30 minutes from USSA’s Park City Headquarters and 15 minutes from Salt Lake International airport.
Another aspect of the partnership will include a Coaches Education curriculum program. During the second year of the partnership, Westminster will develop, on behalf of USSA, business related courses made available to coaches on-line. These courses are aimed at assisting professional coaches in meeting their educational requirements as established by USSA in the areas of sport business and management. Classes will include accounting, management, marketing, risk management, and communications.
Westminster College hopes this partnership will build upon the success of another new program the college recently launched called “Winter at Westminster” and that the two new initiatives will help take better advantage of their unique location and goal of becoming better known as an education destination for dedicated college students across the country who are also winter sports enthusiasts.
The U. S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding. Founded in 1905, the century-old organization provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders who share an Olympic dream. As a company, USSA’s management and staff coordinate a nationwide program in six distinctly different Olympic sports — alpine, cross country, disabled, freestyle, ski jumping nordic combined, and snowboarding, as well as disabled alpine and cross country. The U.S. Ski Team has been based in Utah since in 1974.
About Westminster College
Westminster CCollege, founded in 1875, is a private, comprehensive, liberal arts college dedicated to students and their learning. Impassioned teaching and active learning are the hallmarks of the Westminster experience. The college prepares its students for success through a strong foundation of liberal education combined with cutting-edge professional programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Located where the magnificent Rocky Mountains meet the vibrant city of Salt Lake, Westminster blends classroom learning with experiences presented by its unique location to help students develop skills and attributes critical for success in a rapidly changing world. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Westminster in the top tier of regional colleges and universities in the West, and as an excellent educational value. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu.