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.”
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.
Marie Bernardo-Sousa ,