NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt announces the creation of the Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success, to be funded with part of the lead gift to the Vandy United campaign made by longtime supporter and Board of Trust member John R. Ingram.
Housed within a central location in the McGugin Center, this initiative represents a restructured approach to how Vanderbilt Athletics will support academic, personal and career development.
“The Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success symbolizes the continued promise of the Vandy United campaign to give our student-athletes every opportunity to succeed,” said Candice Lee, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director. “Thanks to John Ingram’s generosity, the Center will help today’s champions become tomorrow’s leaders. It’s fulfilling to see this vision come to fruition after lengthy and intensive planning, including significant time and energy personally invested by John.”
This past year, in addition to winning two conference championships, an individual national championship and competing in a world championship, Vanderbilt student-athletes were honored as SEC Community Service Award winners and CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, as well as a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of the NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Graduate Scholarship. “Our student-athletes are incredible and deserve our very best. The Ingram Center is one tangible example of what ‘our very best’ looks like,” stated Lee.
All Vanderbilt student-athletes will benefit from the Center’s individualized planning and mentorship, and receive personalized support tailored to meet their specific needs. Examples include financial literacy, leadership training, domestic and international service-learning opportunities, internships, personal branding and name, image and likeness support, and entrepreneurship development. Under the direction of associate athletic director Alison Wenzel, the center will combine the efforts of current student services and student-athlete development staff in one entity.
“The Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success is an innovative approach to providing a holistic experience for student-athlete,” said Wenzel. “We will walk alongside them though their journey at Vanderbilt and provide resources so they can explore their passions. Who are they, what drives them, and where will they find success after Vanderbilt — all of these questions and more will be answered through the student-athlete support services provided by the Ingram Center.”
Additional staff will soon join Vanderbilt’s team, and the network of support will also include collaborations with alumni, campus partners and local community members.
“At its core, Vandy United reflects the university’s commitment to the lifelong growth and development of everyone in our Vanderbilt community,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “The Ingram Center for Student-Athlete Success fits this vision perfectly by harnessing the collaborative power of faculty, coaches, staff, alumni and the Nashville community to support student-athletes as they strive for excellence on and off the field.”
Honored earlier this year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame as its Tennessean of the Year, in part for his work bringing Major League Soccer and Geodis Park to the Nashville community, Ingram has been a longtime advocate for the transformative potential of the student-athlete experience at Vanderbilt. A member of Vanderbilt’s Board of Trust, he echoed the chancellor’s sentiments. “Vanderbilt student-athletes are exceptional young people with bold dreams,” he said. “It is our responsibility to invest in them and ensure that we deliver them to their next destination prepared to reach their potential. I am honored to support this initiative ”
Added Alex Sevilla, vice provost for career advancement and engagement: “We are elated to partner with our colleagues in Vanderbilt Athletics to deliver bold new engagement opportunities for Vanderbilt student-athletes. The Vanderbilt Career Center team is here to fuel career empowerment and discovery for every Vanderbilt student and supporting the unique needs of the student-athlete community is vitally important to our mission.”