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Destler Dodge

Another year at RIT means many new faces popping up around campus. This doesn’t just mean the incoming freshman either — there are always new openings and positions, allowing for the faculty and staff to grow. This year the athletic department is introducing Bethany Schlegel as the new assistant athletic director. Schlegel's past knowledge and skills will help her as she joins RIT and becomes part of the community.

This will be Schlegel’s first year at RIT, but an administrative role in athletics is nothing new to her. She has held a wide range of previous roles in the field, including being a student athlete and a coach herself.

Executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Lou Spiotti Jr., pointed out that having these past experiences make for a very useful skill set. Spiotti explained, “Understanding the mentality of an athlete, understanding the perspective of coach, [and] having done it before yourself … makes you more effective in this job.” When asked about the advantage of her experience, Schlegel agreed. “It allows you to relate to the athletes and to the coaches and their perspective.” Her knowledge and exposure will be crucial during her time here.

Schlegel’s resume does not stop there. Before coming to RIT, she was also an assistant athletic director at Iona College. There, she was heavily involved with the student athletes. Her role included responsibilities such as being the home event supervisor and co-advisor to the Student Athlete Advisory committee. Prior to Iona, she served as an assistant athletic director at Finger Lakes Community College, where she took on numerous roles including academic advising, home event management, student athlete programming and eligibility. Her time at FLCC were vital to her growth as a professional.

“After those two years at Finger Lakes Community College, I really felt like I could take on any type of administrative role in athletics,” explained Schlegel.

All of this background knowledge and exposure will surely help Schlegel succeed here at RIT. According to the executive athletic director, it already has. Spiotti described her as “an impressive, young professional.” Acquiring this position was no easy task. “We did a national search for this position … but she emerged as the best,” explained Spiotti.

Schlegel rightfully impressed her employers and is already making her mark on programs. She has her sights set on working alongside the student employees and trying to do everything she can to make their ideas happen. “I want to be able to bring those ideas to life for them,” explained Schlegel. Whether it is something small, such as revamping work spaces, or something bigger, such as a video screen for games, she wants to help make these things happen.

Schlegel expressed, “One of the things I really do enjoy is that every day is different, every day there’s something new.” She’s only been here a little over a month, and as Spiotti puts it, she’s already “umped in with both feet.” 

Not only is RIT thrilled to have Schlegel, but she is excited to be here as well. “One of the things that attracted me to this position and to RIT has a lot to do with how great the department and institution is already being run,” explained Schlegel. “The history and success that they’ve had, it’s something that I’ve wanted to be a part of.”

Schlegel grew up around the area, so RIT’s impressive reputation is not something new to her. She is familiar with the institution and knows just how great the place can be. RIT has a lot to offer for both students and faculty. What drew Schlegel in has a lot to do with how RIT is “constantly pushing all areas [and] all departments to do more and to be better and be creative.” Being a part of this environment will be nothing but beneficial.  “We should always be growing and looking for ways to improve, I’m just excited to be a part of all that,” stated Schlegel.

Joining the RIT community is about more than just a salary — it’s a learning and growing experience.

Schlegel's year has just begun, but there is so much in store for her. With so much already under her belt, she is ready to take action in her new position at RIT. As Spiotti said, “She won everybody over and still is.”  Be on the lookout for all the positive impacts she will be making across campus.