A New Chapter in Seton Hall’s Rich Tradition of Sports Excellence
Legendary sportscaster Bob Ley '76, an original ESPN SportsCenter anchor who enjoyed a forty-year career at the sports network, has made a philanthropic donation to Seton Hall University to launch the Center for Sports Media. This founding gift is a testament to Ley's strong attachment to his alma mater. Seton Hall is the natural place to launch this Center with its long-standing athletic tradition, passion for sports, and interdisciplinary and transformative Sports Media program.
Ley has maintained a strong connection to Seton Hall, where he regularly presents workshops and master classes, moderates a sports-media speaker series, and mentors student staff of campus radio station WSOU 89.5 FM, the airwaves where he got his start in 1972 broadcasting play-by-plays of Pirates basketball games.
"We are thrilled to be launching this new academic center," said University Provost Katia Passerini. "As part of the Seeds of Innovation organizational plan adopted by our Board of Regents, we are reinvesting in our Colleges. We're grateful to Bob for supporting this promising asset which is housed in the College of Communication and the Arts, and will enhance enrollment, programming, and outcomes for our students. Bob has already contributed his knowledge, expertise, gift for teaching, and contagious enthusiasm to help us grow the Sports Media program. Now, his financial investment in the Center gives us the foundation and the inspiration to achieve a greater vision."
With a mission to innovate the industry, the Center for Sports Media will redefine how students are trained in media, communications, and sports business. Students will collaborate with the sports community and produce groundbreaking content published through university channels and partnerships with major media outlets. They will build outstanding portfolios, gain robust hands-on experience through internships, and work alongside experts in the field to give them a leg up as they forge careers exploring, engaging, and mastering key aspects of this multi-billion-dollar sports industry.
"Seton Hall is uniquely positioned to assume a leadership role, as we see this industry continually reshaped in front of our eyes," said Ley. "Educating and training the next generation of leaders is vital, so these creators of compelling content work at the highest journalistic standards. Seton Hall is committed to the success of the Center, and I am deeply honored to make its founding gift."
In 2017, Seton Hall’s College of Communication and the Arts began offering a Sports Media minor and within four years the minor became the largest in the University. The College provides students with a dedicated website to publish written, visual, audio, and video content. Dozens of legendary sports leaders such as Scotty Burrell of the Bulls, Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, and NBC’s Bob Costas have presented to or engaged with students. Already, the program has produced such accomplished alumni as FOX Sports Play-by-Play Broadcaster John Fanta, Memphis sports anchor Clayton Collier, and Elizabeth Swinton of Sports Illustrated.
For Sports Media students, storytelling can begin on campus, home to many nationally renowned athletes and teams. Since the BIG EAST realignment in 2013, Seton Hall has captured nine BIG EAST championships across five different sports: men's basketball, women's basketball, women's golf, men's swimming & diving, and men's soccer. The men's basketball team has been in the Top 25 nearly since its inception, and commands national coverage on Fox Sports and other major networks.
"We are thrilled to expand our programming to offer current and prospective students solid training for a career in sports media, that will teach them both the journalistic standards of fairness and truth, as well as cutting-edge practices of new digital media that are constantly evolving," said Renee Robinson, Department Chair and incoming Interim Dean of the College of Communication and the Arts. "With the launch of the Center for Sports Media, we can now offer students a more robust course of study, additional applied-learning opportunities, and the assurance that they will leave Seton Hall with a winning résumé."
More information on the Center for Sports Media can be found at www.shu.edu/sports-media.