When Dr. Les Purce traveled to Kansas City last weekend for the 2013 NAIA Convention, he do so not just as President of The Evergreen State College but as the Chair of the NAIA Presidents Council.
“The NAIA provides those of us who share common values with an opportunity to work together in a community with like-minded institutions that value autonomy, student-athlete welfare, character, and athletics competition as a component of our institutions’ missions to build better citizens of the world,” said Purce in his opening remarks at the convention.
His term officially began on January 1 and shortly after that, NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr made the trip to Olympia and Evergreen to spend two days with Purce, as well as learn more about Evergreen and the Cascade Conference. The visit also allowed Evergreen staff to meet with Carr, who was able to share his goals as head of the NAIA.
It also allowed Carr to experience the uniqueness of Evergreen and to understand the distinct challenges faced by the liberal-arts college in Olympia, Wash. He shared his vision for the future of the NAIA and allowed the Geoducks an opportunity to understand the inner-workings of the national office.
The appointment of Purce to the position by his peers brings considerable pride not just to Evergreen but the Cascade Collegiate Conference as well.
“The Cascade Conference is very excited that President Purce has been elected by his peers to serve as the NAIA Council of Presidents Chair,” said CCC commissioner Rob Cashell. “His passion for the overall student-athlete experience in academics, as well as athletics, along with his considerable leadership capabilities will no doubt serve the association well.”
Joining Purce in Kansas City will be Evergreen Director of Recreation and Athletics Dr. Matt Newman. Newman, who is in his second year at Evergreen, understands the significance of having such an important role filled on campus.
“Having President Purce serve as Chair of the NAIA Presidents Council is a feather in Evergreen’s cap, for sure, as well as being quite beneficial for the Association overall,” said Newman. “Les was a student-athlete himself, and throughout his career in higher education he has been an advocate for all the positives that college athletics can represent and the NAIA provides the proper structure for those types of institutions and programs.”
In addition to Purce meeting with his fellow presidents to discuss the future of the NAIA, the convention has a number of legislative proposals that will be voted upon by the membership. Among them is the creation of a national program for recognition of institutional and conference letters of intent as well as a number of amendments dealing with the eligibility process.
“I’m excited to be here, and I’m excited about the role intercollegiate athletics plays, not just in our Association but in the democracy of our nation,” Purce said. “And I’m excited about the role our student-athletes play, not just in the future of our institutions but in the future of our country.”
While his term only lasts until the end of 2013, Evergreen is very proud to have President Purce in such a high profile position.
“At Evergreen, we continue to appreciate his ongoing support of student-athletes, and we’re very proud that he’s chosen to take the time to serve the NAIA in this important role.” added Newman.