JWU’s winning recipe for keeping students in school
ALL THINGS EQUAL: Marie Bernardo-Sousa, senior vice president of student services at Johnson & Wales University, said the school hopes to achieve “the same level of opportunity for young men and women on our campus.”
By Patricia Daddona PBN Staff Writer
Known best for its culinary-arts program, Johnson & Wales University offers degrees in the arts and sciences, business, education, nutrition, hospitality and technology. Not typically considered a school for athletes, the university in fact has 22 varsity athletic sports at the Providence campus. Three programs debuted in 2013 –- women’s field hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse – while women’s hockey was added as a club sport this year. This past year, the university also completed construction of the school’s first athletic fields.
As senior vice president of student services, Marie Bernardo-Sousa has helped nurture growth in athletics and explains why.
PBN: How old is the JWU Wildcats athletics program and which sports does it promote at the varsity level?
BERNARDO-SOUSA: The program is celebrating 19 years. We had a program in the 1960s when we were a junior college. In the mid-’70s and ‘80s the board made a decision to reallocate funding to other areas of the university, but brought [athletics] back in 1995. All of the established programs are offered at the varsity level.
PBN: The commitment to athletics appears to be growing with the addition of new programs and athletic fields. Why is the university expanding this way?
BERNARDO-SOUSA: We’re committed to ensuring our students have a valuable and holistic experience at the university. Athletics complement the educational program. When [a company is] hiring, you’re looking for someone who exhibits teamwork, who can communicate clearly, who is disciplined and able to manage multiple projects. That’s a skill set students learn inside and outside the classroom and athletics complements that.