COLCHESTER, Vt. - After 13 years as the Saint Michael's College Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR), Dr. Dave Landers left his post near the end of the spring semester, being succeeded by Dr. Ray Patterson, Religious Studies Department chair and an associate professor of religious studies. College President John J. Neuhauser appointed Patterson to the position.
FARs provide oversight in both academics and athletics to ensure integrity and institutional control of a college's athletics program, and serve as advocates for the student-athlete to assist in ensuring their well-being and a quality experience in an environment of tolerance, respect and inclusion. FARs are committed to the NCAA Division II Life in the Balance positioning statement and to the six Division II attributes: learning, sportsmanship, service, resourcefulness, passion and balance. They play an active role in communicating the vision and values of Division II intercollegiate athletics at the campus, conference and national levels, and with the community at-large.
Patterson just completed his 23rd school year as a professor at Saint Michael's, and has been the long-time faculty affiliate for the women's basketball, field hockey and women's lacrosse programs, providing academic support and guidance to those teams' student-athletes. Thanks to his involvement with all students at the College, he has been honored often over the years. In 2017 alone, Patterson received the inaugural Northeast-10 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Faculty Mentor Award, the Dr. Dave Landers Faculty Member of the Year Award from the Saint Michael's SAAC, and the College's Reverend Gerald E. Dupont Award.
"I'm honored that President Neuhauser considered me for the position and am excited about the opportunity to work with our student-athletes," said Patterson. "No one can fill Dave Landers' shoes - he's won national awards in this position! - but I hope to continue his good work, and I know that Dave and I share the same commitment to the well-being of our student-athletes. I look forward to bringing my own experiences and skillset to address the challenges faced by student-athletes and to pursue new opportunities to improve the student-athlete experience."
"We are thrilled that Ray has accepted the President's invitation to serve as our new NCAA FAR," said Director of Athletics Chris Kenny '86. "Following Dave Landers in this position is a real challenge - honestly, he set a standard that I have not seen at the NCAA Division II level. I feel Ray is the perfect person to carry the torch from here - he is a student-centered educator and mentor who believes in the importance of athletics as an integral part of a Saint Michael's education, and has long proven his selfless dedication to our student-athletes."
Landers retired from his position as a visiting associate professor of psychology at Saint Michael's following the 2016-17 school year, but returned for a final year as the College's FAR in 2017-18. Thanks to his work with Saint Michael's student-athletes, Landers earned the 2014 Dr. Dave Pariser Faculty Mentor Award, as selected by the NCAA Division II National SAAC. Also a long-time advocate for and supporter of Purple Knight student-athletes, Landers saw the Saint Michael's SAAC name its faculty member of the year award in his honor in 2016.
"I have been working at Saint Michael's College for the past 36 years and can honestly say that the last 13, working as the College's FAR, have been the most rewarding," said Landers. "Our student-athletes are an amazing group of young people dedicated not only to their sport but also to the College and to their academics. This is certainly shown in the College's Academic Success Rate, which puts SMC at the very top of all of Division II. The collaboration between Athletics, academics, Student Life, the Bergeron Wellness Center and all aspects of our campus provide our student-athletes with the knowledge that they are valued, both in and outside of the classroom. The president's support for me in this position has allowed me to be a voice across the NE10 and the NCAA on issues of concussions, mental health and a wide variety of other topics which are not usually discussed.
"I also know that I am leaving this position is very capable hands," added Landers. "Ray is a dedicated scholar and teacher, and a strong advocate for our student-athletes and our coaches. He has served as a faculty affiliate and has been exceptional in his care and concern for all of our students, but especially he has recognized the need for balance between academics and athletics."