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College's Largest Cohort Attends Black Student-Athlete Summit.

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations

Students and Staff at the University of Southern California in May for the Black Student-Athlete Summit

Empowerment. Connections. Support. Inspiration. These were the takeaways Marist student-athletes and staff will hold close as they train this summer and prepare for next year’s competitions. 

A group of 12 student-athletes and four staff members represented Marist at the annual Black Student-Athlete Summit at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles — the largest cohort Marist has ever sent to the event. The initiative involved collaboration from various departments, including the Department of Athletics and its IDEA Committee, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Academic Affairs, and the Marist Center for Student-Athlete Enhancement (CSAE).

“We wanted our students to be part of this must-attend annual event, to meet other student-athletes and professionals from different colleges and universities, and to expose them to opportunities for networking as well as build camaraderie in an environment of celebration and learning,” said Dr. Edward Antonio, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “We also wanted to engage in cross-department collaboration with our colleagues in athletics. It was a moment for us to step up and contribute to enriching their experience.”

The four-day summit served as a platform for student-athletes and influential figures in college sports, with networking, intimate sessions, and engaging forums on the mental health of coaches, the experiences of Black Student-Athletes at elite institutions, the power of faith, community activism, and career development.

The May event drew more than 1,200 participants, including professionals, influencers, and student-athletes from more than 170 colleges and universities. Among the celebrity guests were former NBA player Matt Barnes, former NFL player, Aaron Taylor who is now a CBS Sports football analyst, and actor Solomon Hughes from HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. Marist student-athletes, coaches, and staff members say they made valuable connections and were inspired from the diverse gathering.





"I truly could not have asked for a better group of student-athletes and coaches to travel with," said track and field athlete Anaiya Bobo '23. "Being able to connect over shared experiences not only as black student-athletes, but as black student-athletes at Marist allowed us to support one another and connect our different experiences."

"My favorite moment from this trip was during an ice breaker exercise with every attendee, where we walked around a big room and got to meet and get to know each other a little bit," said football player Mylo Lee '25. "I enjoyed this because it gave me the opportunity to make new friends and get to hear how their college experience has been compared to mine."

"I feel like I walked away from the Summit with so much more than I could have ever imagined," said volleyball player Alyssa White '25. "Not only did I grow closer to the staff and athletes from Marist, but I got to meet so many athletes from other schools who inspired me to work toward the kind of campus impact they have already made at their schools."

"The summit provides resources that can be invaluable to our student-athletes and we hope to send many more in the years to come," said Alyssa Gates, Director of the Center for Student-Athlete Enhancement. "Our hope with this experience is that our athletes return to campus with a renewed sense of empowerment and a feeling of support."

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