April 4, 2008
KINGSTON, R.I. - Lauren Anderson, Senior Associate Director of Athletics/SWA at the University of Rhode Island, has announced her decision to retire. Anderson will officially step down on June 21, 2008, ending her 31-year tenure at the University and 41-year career in athletics.
"I really love my job," explained Anderson. "But there comes a time when you start thinking about retirement and I wanted to make that decision while I still have a passion for my work. I'm fortunate to have my health and I am excited about shifting my energy to new experiences and other challenges. I'm looking forward to doing the things I've often wished I had time for, but didn't. Now there will be no excuses."
Anderson joined the athletics department staff in 1977, as the University's first women's cross country/track & field coach, and moved into administration after spending 15 years coaching the Rams. In her current capacity, she is responsible for the coordination and supervision of men's & women's cross country/track & field, men's soccer, rowing, softball, field hockey and gymnastics, while also overseeing facilities, scheduling, sports medicine and academic advising.
"I would like to thank Lauren for her tireless work on behalf of the University of Rhode Island athletic department," said URI Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn. "Although I have only had the opportunity to work with her for a short time, I have developed a tremendous amount of respect for her knowledge of sports and her passion in serving as our Senior Women's Administrator for so many years. She is well respected in the areas of women's athletic issues nationally. My only wish for Lauren now is that she enjoys her retirement. She has earned it."
"It has been a great honor working with Lauren over the past seventeen years," added University President Dr. Robert Carothers. "She has been a passionate and skillful advocate for women's athletics. Nobody loves URI athletics more."
Throughout her years at the University, Anderson has been very active with several professional organizations and has served on numerous committees, including holding a spot on the NCAA Men's and Women's Track & Field Committee from 1992-98, and serving as the Committee chair from 1994-97.
The Eastford, Conn. native also served in the NCAA Division I Strategic Planning Cabinet (1997-99), Atlantic 10 Conference Championship and Equity Committee, A-10 Men's and Women's Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field Committee (1993-present), and was vice president of the ECAC Executive Council (1997-98).
"Lauren has been an outstanding leader, educator and mentor to hundreds of women in athletics," said Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Dougan. "She has been a tremendous advocate for Title IX, and is a colleague that has been great to work with. Her career has been filled with recognition and honor - all of which is much deserved. She is a true professional and has done wonderful work at the University of Rhode Island."
Anderson served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators from 1999-2003 and was president of the Rhode Island Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women from 1999-2005. She is a member of the University's Association for Professional and Academic Women and President's Commission on the Status of Women.
"Aging aside," chuckled Anderson, "It has been a special experience to be part of the evolution and growth of women's athletics since the mid-60's."
Anderson started her career in athletics as a physical education teacher and coach at North Haven High School in North Haven, Conn. There, she coached girls field hockey, basketball and track & field, which captured four state championship titles from 1972-75. In 1975, Anderson became North Haven High's Athletic Director, one of the first females to serve in that capacity in the state.
Coaches and administration agreed that Anderson will be missed at the University.
"Lauren has done so much for this department in her time here," said Women's Track & Field Head Coach Laurie Feit-Melnick. "Her continued support of our programs, her pride and passion for her job, and her desire to give each and every student-athlete the very best, truly make her a pleasure to work with. I want to thank her for giving me the opportunity to take over her coaching reign at URI. She has been an incredible mentor and has touched so many lives throughout her career. I hope she realizes how much she's going to be missed."
"What I will miss most is the day-to-day contact with colleagues, student-athletes and friends across the campus and throughout the state," added Anderson.
As for her future plans, Anderson said she looks forward to spending more time with her family, while still keeping her URI family in sight.
"I've been fortunate to teach and coach many outstanding student-athletes over the course of my career. Here at URI, I have especially enjoyed the opportunity to work with so many terrific teams and coaches who are passionate about their programs. Great things lie ahead for these people and I will certainly continue to support and follow their growth."