I am a Ranger fanatic. I watch our games online, follow our teams on social media, and read the box scores, win, lose, or draw. If time and my inbox would let me, I’d be in the stands instead for every three-pointer and line drive. It’s been a thrilling year for Rangers fans, from the men’s soccer Sweet 16 run to the NCAA Championship swims by women’s freestyler Mal Vishwanath.
This year, we added our 19th and 20th programs— women’s and men’s golf. Our new coaches—including Erica Mehalick (softball), Zack Mower (cross country), Doug Sage (men’s lacrosse), and Scott Veith (tennis)—bring an energy that complements the experience of beloved skippers like Christa Racine (women’s soccer) and Lenny Armuth (men’s soccer), celebrating his 25th season next year. And another legend not to be forgotten, men’s lacrosse coach Tom Leanos, retired last season after 30 years and 255 wins.
What’s most gratifying to me, though, is that our student- athletes are truly that—both excellent students and athletes. They are as strong or stronger with their academic work as they are on the field or court.
As a Division III school, we don’t provide athletic scholarships. Our student-athletes join our community for different reasons: our dedication to faculty mentorship, our commitment to hands-on learning, our connection to our community and the city, and their pure love of their sports.
Our student-athletes are Civic Scholars and are in the Baldwin Honors program. They conduct real-world research through RISE and DSSI and work with community members through Drew Unified Sports. They join one of our New York Semesters (on Wall Street and Broadway, at the United Nations, and in the worlds of contemporary art, social entrepreneurship, or media and communications), earn real-world experience in one (or two or three!) of our hundreds of internship opportunities, and study and travel in China, South Africa, or Cuba.
Students who are both scholars and athletes choose Drew because of our challenging yet encouraging environment. Pushing student-athletes toward peak performance on and off the field coaches and trainers, faculty and staff—all equally committed to success in both spheres. There’s a coach who understands the value of a networking event and releases a student-athlete from practice; there’s a professor who understands the value of a big away game and so briefs a student-athlete on missed classwork. With support from their mentors, our student-athletes model our mission to “prepare (our) students to flourish both personally and professionally as they add to the world’s good.” Real life does not focus on doing one thing well. Real life demands balancing competing passions and responsibilities and an ability to divide attention across career, family, avocations, and community. The biology major/swimmer who is up very early for practice and very late to study is the perfect example.
I’m inspired by our student-athletes who somehow find the time and have the determination to excel in multiple arenas. I hope you enjoy reading more about them in this issue as much as I did. Go Rangers!—MaryAnn Baenninger