Cal Athletics to establish program to prepare student-athletes for life after graduation

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Cal Athletics announced Thursday that it will be introducing a new program that aims to provide student-athletes with skills for success after graduation. The program, called the Cameron Institute, was made possible by a $12.5 million gift from C. Bryan Cameron of the Bryan Cameron Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

According to a Cal Athletics press release, the program will be based on three pillars — leadership and personal development, career development, and community engagement and will seek to help athletes pursue personal success after graduation. The Cameron Institute is expected to launch in the 2020-21 academic year.

In the press release, Cameron said this program will provide student athletes with assistance in focusing on skills they need for a successful future.

“My experience with student-athletes is that many develop some excellent foundational skills for life, including a strong work ethic, discipline, leadership, teamwork and competitiveness,” Cameron said in the press release. “But they may also lack the focus, time and opportunities to best prepare for life after their college sports experience is completed. The institute is designed to assist these promising young men and women in identifying and pursuing career opportunities, at which they can succeed at the highest level.”

The initial goal of the program is to hire staff who are “well-qualified” to facilitate an environment of excellence and empowerment in which UC Berkeley student-athletes can thrive. Additionally, the program must hire an associate athletic director for student-athlete development.

Programs that will encompass the three pillars include team captain training, leadership seminars and retreats. According to the Cal Athletics press release, the institute will also encourage participation in community engagement programs. The Cameron Institute will also include career counseling to provide student-athletes with major and career advising.

“We want to empower our student-athletes so that they are best prepared to pursue their dreams both here on campus and when they go out into the world having completed their academic work,” said Athletic Director Jim Knowlton in the press release. “The Cameron Institute will serve as a model for other universities who want to invest in fully integrating student-athletes into the university environment and prepare them for their lives after college.”

Julie Madsen covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Julie_Madsen_.