Press Release

Saint Mary's College Selected to Join NCAA's CHAMPS/Life Skills Program


Sarah Miesle
Sports Information Director
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, Ind.
(574) 284-5290

Aug. 27, 2008 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College has been selected from a pool of applicants as one of 31 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools to join the CHAMPS (Challenging Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success)/ Life Skills Program in the fall of 2008. Each year, the NCAA accepts up to 40 new applicants to join the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program. After successfully making it through the application process and being accepted, the NCAA provides member schools with materials, resources, and program models to help implement the program. The NCAA also holds annual conferences for each school’s administrator of the program to foster collaboration among member institutions.

The program will be coordinated and directed by Erin Sullivan ‘04, Saint Mary’s alumna, former student-athlete, and head softball coach at the College. It will be among Sullivan’s responsibilities to monitor the academic progress of the student-athletes at the College through individual mentoring. She will also help coordinate activities and programs through the athletic department to foster community service and personal development.

"We are very excited to be able to implement the CHAMPS/Life Skills Program here at Saint Mary's,” commented Sullivan. This is just one more program we can use to help our student-athletes with their studies as well as with their future careers.”

Lynn Kachmarik, Director of Athletics, also expressed her excitement and anticipation for the new feature offered by the athletic department. “All eight of our varsity teams had GPAs that ranged between 3.1 and 3.5 last year, so they are doing a great job in the classroom,” stated Kachmarik. “Having the leader of this program (Sullivan) also be an alum of the College just adds more strength to the position as she is very familiar with all aspects of the college.”

Originally implemented in 1994 by the NCAA Foundation, the program has grown from 46 institutions to over 650 and is now overseen by the NCAA Education Outreach staff. The program focuses on providing assistance to student-athletes in the areas of academics, athletics, personal development, career development, and community service through facilitating leadership conferences, on-campus speakers, and providing various other growth opportunities for college communities.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the nation's top liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report's 2009 annual survey. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.