UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Dr. Lauren (Cevis) Rhodes joins the Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) staff as the senior associate AD, student-athlete performance, health and welfare and senior woman administrator (SWA), it was announced today, in collaboration with TurnkeyZRG, by Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. Rhodes comes to Happy Valley after spending seven years at Jacksonville University, most recently serving as the deputy athletic director/SWA.
Rhodes will oversee ICA’s sport performance unit, which includes applied health and performance science, medical services, athletic training, performance enhancement, performance nutrition, performance psychology, and student-athlete welfare and development. Rhodes will also have sport administration responsibilities, as well as lead ICA’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
“We are thrilled Lauren has accepted our offer to join the Penn State family,” said Barbour. “She has very quickly developed a reputation as a tireless student advocate, and a consummate professional who build partnerships and collaborations within an athletic department, across campus and throughout the community. She’s a perfect fit for our performance team culture of communication, collaboration and exploration. I can’t wait for Lauren to get started at Penn State and for our student-athletes, coaches and staff to be the beneficiaries of her commitment, expertise and energy.”
“I find myself both humbled and honored to join the Penn State Nittany Lion family,” said Rhodes. “I thank those who served on the search committee, and am especially grateful to the remarkable trailblazer, Sandy Barbour, for her stewardship, kindness and guidance throughout this process.
“To President Tim Cost, Alex Ricker-Gilbert and my Jacksonville University family, I thank you for allowing me to serve our student-athletes, coaches, staff and University as a whole. Without your guidance and belief in me to lead, I would find myself ill-prepared. However, given the contrary, I am excited to listen, learn and lead alongside this visionary Penn State team.
“As my family and I set to embark on this journey, the irony behind a saying so close to my heart, ‘I AM, BECAUSE WE ARE’ reverberates, and echoes within me! I am thankful for the opportunity and look forward to the many collaborative successes ahead,” Rhodes concluded.
In her role as deputy athletic director/SWA at Jacksonville, Rhodes oversees the student-athlete services, sports medicine and strength and conditioning departments. She also served as sport administrator for the women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer programs. An active member of the Jacksonville University community, Rhodes served on the President’s Council, Diversity Council, Faculty Athletic Committee, Athletics Policy & Procedures Committee, Community Outreach Committee and the Students of Concern Committee.
During Rhodes’ tenure, Jacksonville’s student-athlete services department created the Student-Athlete Center for Success in 2015. The center has helped the athletics department achieve record-breaking academic performances with a departmental grade-point average of 3.30 in consecutive semesters. Jacksonville also engaged student-athletes through innovative, curriculum-based developmental programming. Rhodes was responsible for the formation of a Student-Athlete Welfare and Development team, as well as the creation of the department’s JAXPYS Student-Athlete Awards.
Prior to her time at Jacksonville, Rhodes served in a variety of academic support roles at University of Maryland, University of Georgia and George Washington University.
Rhodes is a member of the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA), National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A), National Black Master of Business Administration Association (NBMBAA) and Women Leaders in College Sports. She is currently serving as the Chair for the Education & Professional Development Committee for Women Leaders in College Sports. She is also a graduate of the NCAA Leadership Institute, Jacksonville University Leadership Academy, Women Leaders in College Sports Leadership Enhancement Institute, Top Connect AD and will participate in the LEAD1 Institute in 2022. In addition, Rhodes belongs to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
Rhodes graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in communication and concentrations in rhetoric and social influences. She earned master’s degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University, as well as a Master of Business Administration and Doctorate in Business Administration from Jacksonville University.
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