DAPER Kicks Off Academic Year With New Student-Athlete Leadership Program

DAPER Kicks Off Academic Year With New Student-Athlete Leadership Program

CAMBRIDGE, MA (October 17) - As part of the kick off to the 2018-19 athletics season, DAPER launched the new MIT Student-Athlete Leadership Program with an interactive presentation from renowned leadership development speaker and author Ed Ruggero.

Ruggero, author of The Leader’s Compass, has been studying, practicing, and teaching leadership for the past twenty-five years. A graduate of West Point and a former Army officer, he has authored eleven books and has an extensive list of organizations he has worked with, including the FBI, Forbes, MassMutual, and the CIA.

Ruggero held two sessions on Tuesday, September 4, one with administrators and coaches and another with Rising Leaders (selected sophomores and juniors) and team captains that focused on developing a personal leadership philosophy. Each attendee received a copy of Ruggero’s book prior to attending and used it as reference during the program.

MIT’s Student-Athlete Leadership Program came to be over the past year, as coaches, administrators, and student-athletes in DAPER formed an ad hoc committee to develop a new leadership program specifically for student-athletes at MIT.

“We selected members of the adhoc committee based on those who we thought would provide insight into the MIT student-athlete experience,” said Jess Duff, Special Assistant to the Athletic Director, and Katie Hoppe, Sports Administration Coordinator, who both spearheaded the development of the program. “We are very grateful for the committee’s feedback and ideas, and feel confident that we can use it to propel the program to one where students feel empowered to learn and lead.”

Joe Levitch ‘69, Friend and Generous Supporter of DAPER, was also key in developing the programming that is now underway after his experiences working with the women’s varsity tennis team.

“Based on my own professional experience and my involvement with MIT programs like UPOP and GEL, I sincerely believe in the importance of teaching teamwork and leadership to complement the incredible technical education that MIT offers,” explained Levitch.

“It is my hope that the new [MIT] Student-Athlete Leadership Program will be of long-term value to all of MIT’s student-athletes, both on the playing fields/courts and in their career pursuits after graduation. I am excited to be a part of this program and I look forward to the opportunity of working with DAPER to enhance and expand the program to deliver even more benefits in the years to come.”

Reaction from student-athletes after the event was positive, with many planning to take the idea of creating a leadership philosophy not only back to to their teams, but into their lives beyond MIT as well.

“Having a room full of student-athletes really dedicated to trying to become better leaders for both their individual purposes and their teams was something pretty special that I don’t think you get to do in many other settings,” commented Men’s Basketball player Cameron Korb ‘19. “Going forward in life, hopefully I will end up in some managerial position some day and the development of a leadership philosophy like [Ruggero] was talking about is definitely something that I am going to do.”

Jocelyn Luizzi ‘21 agreed, reflecting that understanding the impact of setting clear expectations can have a huge impact on whatever group you may find yourself in: “Having everyone on the same page about what the expectations are will make a huge difference in anything you’re doing.”

The Student-Athlete Leadership Program has been designed to support the core values of DAPER and to equip MIT student-athletes with the tools to become successful leaders on their teams, within their classroom, and in their community and professional careers following graduation. Utilizing a three-tier system for first years, rising leaders, and captains, the program will encourage the practical application of leadership concepts through personal assessment, guest speakers, and roundtables with student-athletes across all sports.