The world’s first academic program in sports administration was born at Ohio University in 1966. While similar programs have proliferated, OHIO’s remains the gold standard—ranked #1 in the world by SportsBusiness International.
Justine “Tina” Skestos (BSEd ’73, MSA ’74) became the program’s first woman graduate in 1974. Then and now, the program has positioned itself as the world’s leading sports business program through its curriculum, industry connections, graduates’ career development, small and talented cohorts, and its powerful and dedicated alumni network.
Committed to that tight network, Skestos contributed $120,000 to establish the Justine Skestos Scholarship in Sports Administration. Her gift is providing support for three, full-time students in the dual master of business administration/master of sports administration (MBA/MSA) program for two years.
“The Skestos Scholarship is allowing me to focus completely on my studies. I am able to take advantage of all the opportunities and experiences the program offers,” said Shelby Brown, who earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma native had less expensive options for graduate school closer to home.
“This support made all the difference in my decision to come to OHIO,” she said. “(It) has given me the opportunity to attend my dream school with a greater ease of mind and the ability to throw myself entirely into my work and studies.”
Kenneth Wolfort earned his undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina. His parents, OHIO graduates who had met in 1989 through the Sports Administration Program, urged him to look at Athens.
“I was aware of the program and the University growing up,” said Wolfort. But, he’d never been to Athens. “It was a part of (my parents’) past, I wanted to be different and not be ‘just’ the legacy kid—I didn’t want the past to define my future.” Then, he visited OHIO.
“I got to meet the faculty and the students, and they were my kind of people,” he said. About the Skestos Scholarship he said, “It is a massive honor, first and foremost. I represent the program, and I represent (Tina Skestos). That is not something that I take lightly. It’s something I strive to honor. It pushes me to be the best version of me that I can be.”
The third recipient, Morgan McPherson earned her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have been accepted to the MBA/MSA program,” she said. “Thanks to this support, I have been able to take advantage of every opportunity offered to me here including networking and professional development trips, and traveling to work other sports events. … I had always heard about the OHIO family and alumni network, but never truly learned what it meant to be a part of it until I arrived. (This) support, and the mentorship from other alumni, have shown me what it means to give back to the program and be a member of this unique family.”
Wolfort offered that he’d “be happy to sit down with anyone considering giving to scholarships and to tell them about how motivating receiving a scholarship is, how it changes your trajectory and makes you want to give back… the change it makes in a young person’s life. It has motivated me to give back someday.”