After more than a decade of success in national competitions, the Loras College Sport Management program is looking for new ways to show off the talents of its students.
The program has earned 11 national titles at numerous conferences, including five consecutive victories at the Sport Marketing Association (SMA) Conference from 2012-2017. While Loras will continue to compete, the focus continues to be on providing as many experiential opportunities as possible, according to Professor of Sport Management Matthew Garrett, Ph.D.
“What we have been able to accomplish in competitions is outstanding and not something we expect to maintain,” Garrett said. “As we move forward, we are always looking for new opportunities and experiences for our students to get hands-on learning and make in-roads on their career path.”
Sport Management majors have access to several practical, experiential learning opportunities, including preprofessional field experience. Students are able to work locally with Dubuque Parks & Recreation on events and city planning meetings, the Dubuque Fighting Saints, NCAA events, minor league baseball and NHL Fanfare. The Sport Management program networks with sports business professionals across the nation through regional and national conferences and course-related trips to regional metropolitan areas.
Garret explained that these experiences had led to work in different fields for alumni. “We are a business degree with a sports emphasis. A lot of our students and alumni are working in various levels of sports, from professional sports teams to local recreation organizations.”
During the academic year, Loras hosts several events with sport management professionals on campus. From speaking engagements to multiple-day class discussions, students can hear directly from experts in the field, ask questions and get first-hand knowledge of different aspects of sport management. The pinnacle of these events is the annual Loras Sport Management Symposium, which hosts panels of professionals and has featured keynote speakers, including Gregg Gumbel (’67), Pete Morris (’93) and Molly Wallace (’92).
“The symposium is the big event that we host each year. Other schools will host symposiums, but what makes ours unique is that it is a completely student-organized event,” Garret said.
The 2020 Loras Sports Symposium will be held on March 27 in the Athletic Wellness Center.
The Sport Management program continues to look forward and build upon its success in competitions.
“We are always looking at ways to make this program that best it can be. We will continue to evaluate what we do and evolve to provide students with the education and experiences that will allow them to make the most of their time at Loras,” Garrett said.