Lehigh Athletics Partnership Unrestricted Fund is renamed The Dean’s Fund for Athletics Excellence

Lehigh Athletics is pleased to announce the renaming of the Athletics Partnership Unrestricted Fund to The Dean’s Fund for Athletics Excellence. As the primary financial manager of Lehigh Athletics, Murray H. Goodman ’48 Dean of Athletics, Joe Sterrett ensures that all department spending is focused on the highest priorities while creating equity in the student and athlete experience. The goal for the Dean’s Fund for Athletics Excellence in FY2022-2023 is to raise $500,000, which is part of the Athletics Partnership’s overall FY2023 goal of $3 million.

Speaking about the importance of making donations to the Dean’s Fund that are not limited to specific needs, Joe Sterrett explained:

“College athletics programs today, regardless of the branch, depend on financial support from their media businesses or their commercial activities (ticket/merchandise sales, sponsorships, merchandise, etc.). Among these philanthropic-based sources of funding, most are alumni, family and friends, to to supplement the resources provided by their universities, meaningful pledges are those whose uses are not specifically restricted, as these “unrestricted” funds expand support for activities serving ALL sports, and provides a critical source of financial support for our student and athlete development programs (Sports Performance Training, Flight 45 Leadership Development, Student and Athlete Academic Services, Sports Medicine and more), and these funds help ensure we continue to meet our commitment to gender equality Thank you To all of our past donors, those who will help us raise the bar, please know that the pledge to the Dean’s Fund for Athletics Excellence goes well beyond dollar amounts.”

Among the areas that have benefited from unrestricted gifts, athletic performance training may have grown the most. In the past, all strength and movement training was done by trainers, most of whom were untrained in the complexities of performance training. This work was then outsourced to a third party who increased the level of professionalism but did not have the capacity to work with all of the Lehigh teams. However, to the extent funds permitted, a staff of certified and experienced full-time professionals was hired to serve as part of the athletics department. Today, all 25 Lehigh teams participate in sport-specific physical development programs led by the in-house Sports Performance Team. Without the unrestricted annual donation funding allocated to this priority need, the physical development of Lehigh’s male and female athletes would have suffered.

Gifts to specific sports remain the most understandable and direct way to impact the student-athlete experience, and our coaching staff is deeply grateful for the annual support we receive for the sport. Donations to the Dean’s Fund complement sport-specific funding and help ensure that each student-athlete’s developmental and competitive experience is adequately supported.

If you would like to learn more about how you can impact the Dean’s Fund for Athletics Excellence, please contact Kristen Brannick at [email protected] or 610-758-6574 or Lisa Landis ’97, ’99G at [email protected] or 610-758-6855. For more information on the Dean’s Fund, see the release of our annual report next week.

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