Posted by Laurie M. Murphy on Jul 12, 2023
Rotary Minutes July 11, 2023
President Heidi called the meeting to order. Susan O’Neil and Scott Van were greeters. Micheal jon-Pease gave the inspirational minute. And Sur Rostkoski did the Happy Dollars and the guest intros. Our speaker was Phil Esten, Vice President and Director of Athletics at the University of St. Thomas.
Of course there was the typical Tommie Johnnie back and forth, for a minute!
Phil took the school from a D3 to a D1 school in one year.  UST is now a DI school. It is the only school in many, many years to go from a D3 to a D1 school. Three areas he covered were:  1. Transformational experience, 2. Experimental Learning. And 3. Faith. He also talked about merging these characteristics in the Athletic Program: Community, Classroom, competition, Resources (human, Financial, and physical).  UST is the only private Catholic school in the conferences of all their sports.  Mental health issues of the students are critical today at Universities. UST has a 3 special people for sports only of the several mental health professionals on the UST staff.  Phil went from a 30 person department to a 130 person department!  They have a lot of coaches, trainers etc for all sports.  He mentioned the new facility for Hockey, basketball and baseball being built at the new Highland Ford plant location.  The questions produced a discussion of the NIL concept or the name, image and likeness concept.  UST does not fund the NIL. This apparently cannot happen at a D1 school.  They are really happy in the Summit League. They will be playing the University of Minnesota in hockey this year and playing Harvard in Football.  They will be looking to have more exhibition games with other schools in the future. They want a competitive and sustainable league in all sports by year 6, they are on year 3 of their D1 status now.  UST has a 4 year program in the Athletics Dept where they teach life skills: how to buy a house, how to invest, and how to manage the students money plus a lot of other practical things.  Also asked what he thought of the New York Times getting rid of their newspaper Athletic reporting staff: he said that everyone gets their sports news by a different method today: online. Phil was a very interesting speaker and topic was great.
Submitted by Scribe : Laurie Murphy