JACKSONVILLE – January 29, 2024 – Edward Waters University (EWU) continues to make strides towards its Emerging Eminence goal with the inauguration of the cutting-edge Athletic Academic Center. Today, Tiger Nation celebrated the grand opening of this innovative facility, designed to empower student-athletes by fostering academic success and holistic development.

Dedicated as a comprehensive resource for EWU athletes, the center stands poised to play a pivotal role in cultivating excellence on and off the courts/fields. Its mission is to provide an environment where student-athletes can thrive academically while maintaining a healthy balance between their educational and athletic commitments.

Dr. Ivana M. Rich, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, emphasized the significance of the new facility for student-athletes’ success.

“The new facility is incredibly important to the success of our student-athletes,” said Dr. Rich. “We want to provide them with a holistic student-athlete experience. They are students first, and we wanted to ensure a facility dedicated for them to be successful in the classroom as well as on the field.”

The center offers a secure space for student-athletes to study, receive tutoring, and meet with professors. Dr. Rich expressed her ambitious vision for the facility.

“Though the space may be small, I have big dreams to make a lot happen,” she said. “I believe things come full circle, and I want to set the tone and show them that academics are important to us in the athletic department. We expect them to be students first and athletes second.”

EWU faculty and staff warmly welcomed student-athletes to explore their new space for the first time. The student-athletes expressed excitement and gratitude, acknowledging the school’s leadership for recognizing their needs and advocating for the essential resources.

EWU Football Quarterback and Junior Keith Moore shared his optimism about the impact of the new facility on academic improvement.

“I feel like it’s going to positively affect myself and other student-athletes by helping us improve academically,” said Moore. “Being better in the classroom will ultimately help us improve on the field.”

The grand opening ceremony, held on January 29, 2024, at 5:30 p.m., drew numerous members of the Tiger family who joined in celebrating this significant milestone. Edward Waters University President and CEO, A. Zachary Faison, Jr., J.D., commended Dr. Rich for her dedication to advocating for student-athletes and ensuring they have the necessary resources for success in both athletics and academics.

“We are steadfast in our conviction that the triumphs of our student-athletes transcend the boundaries of the playing field,” said President Faison. “The establishment of this center underscores our unwavering dedication to cultivating well-rounded individuals who demonstrate excellence in academics, athletics, and personal development.”