Westminster College's Griff the Griffin celebrates with Westminster medalists from Team USA including Maddie Bowman, Devin Logan and Kaitlyn Farrington. (Westminster College)
SALT LAKE CITY (May 9) – The connection between education and athletics is powerful. That was evident Friday as Salt Lake City’s Westminster College honored its 23 members of Team USA that brought home an unprecedented five of 17 medals won by U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association athletes in Sochi. The USSA has developed a partnership with Westminster since 2005, providing an opportunity for athletes training at the USSA Center of Excellence to be able to attend college. Westminster student athletes represented around 25% of Team USA's skiers and snowboarders.
Westminster College honored its 23 members of the Team USA Olympic squad, an outgrowth of its longstanding academic partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.
Westminster’s student athletes represented 10% of Team USA and over a fourth of the USSA’s Olympic skiing and snowboarding team.
Five current or past Westminster students on Team USA won medals, including three gold.
The partnership between the USSA and Westminster, which began in 2005, provides an opportunity for national team athletes to study at Westminster while training at the USSA Center of Excellence in nearby Park City. The program, which was recently renewed, has helped over 100 national athletes combine elite level training with college education.
Student athletes in the program have mainted a 3.56 GPA.
The partnership provides tuition remission to qualifying USSA athletes.
Located in Salt Lake City, Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker also honored the athletes and Westminster for being an integral part of the Salt Lake City community. Utah Governor Gary Herbert also sent a formal recognition.
In addition to the Westminster partnership at the college level, the organization also opened its own USSA Team Academy in 2012 to provide a combination of elite training and high school education.
It was a privilege to represent my country at the biggest sporting event in the world. The cherry on the top was this silver medal. Education is really important to me - skiing won't last forever. Westminster has been there from day one to support me. It's been so good to balance my athletic and school schedule. As much sacrifice and commitment I’ve put in to being an Olympian, I’ve also put in to earning my college degree.
Maddie Bowman, Olympic Champion, halfpipe skiing
The night I won was the craziest of my life - I was in tears of confusion. I have those memories to look back on but I also need to look forward to my future. I'm so happy to have Westminster College here to understand that and help us look forward and think about our future. All of us on the Olympic Team are so happy to come back to such a great college.
Dr. Brian Levin-Stankevich, President, Westminster College
Academic excellence in a setting of experiential learning is a keystone of the Westminster experience. These individuals exemplify this spirit, and I am proud to honor them today.
Tiger Shaw, President and CEO, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association
All of USSA’s athletes do an incredible job of balancing academic schedules and high athletic loads while they pursue both their Olympic dreams and academic dreams. It’s really been special that Westminster has gotten behind a program like this that enables so many of our athletes to come here. We are partners in excellence. We’re very proud of this partnership and thankful for it.
Luke Bodensteiner, Executive Vice President, Athletics, USSA
The integration of education and career development is an important aspect in developing the performance of our team. Our partnership with Westminster College is a cornerstone of our athlete education program, and played a valuable role in enhancing our team's performance in Sochi.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu or follow WestminsterSLC on Twitter.