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The Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) named Harvard the Jostens Institution of the Year on Sept. 8 for the first time in the award’s nine-year history. The honor recognizes the college with the highest standards of academic and athletic performance each year.
“Our mission is to provide a broad-base program and be able to educate through athletics,” said Patricia Henry, the senior associate director of athletics. “If we’re able to accomplish those things, that’s fabulous. This award is confirmation of that. It’s affirmation for us.”
The Crimson landed at the top of a list of 314 colleges and universities in the ECAC, “a conference of conferences” according to Henry. The award will be presented to Harvard during the Fall Convention Honors Dinner, held at the Sheraton Hyannis Resort on Sept. 30.
Traditionally known for its academic excellence, Harvard is home to the nation’s largest Division I athletics program with 41 varsity sports. In the ’02-’03 school year, the Crimson earned five out of a possible six national championships in crew and sailing. The championship teams were women’s heavyweight crew, men’s heavyweight crew, men’s lightweight crew, team race sailing and co-ed sailing; the only team not to win the national title in those two sports was women’s lightweight crew, which placed second.
Harvard earned conference championships in women’s heavyweight crew, men’s heavyweight crew, women’s hockey—which was also national runner-up—and men’s tennis. The men’s hockey team placed second in the conference.
In addition to team success, the Crimson had 33 All-Americans.
“It’s exciting for kids to be able to do both academics and athletics, and the kids who are here want to achieve in both of those,” said assistant women’s crew coach Cory Bosworth.
With this reputation intact, the honor attached to the award is not likely have a great effect on athletics on campus.
“I think this award may help our recruiting a little bit,” said Harvard sailing coach Mike O’Connor. “But I don’t think the impact will be too significant. Harvard is an appealing place to be a student-athlete regardless of the recognition by the ECAC.”
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