Austin Preparatory School is pleased to announce the launch of Austin Prep Presents, a virtual speaker series designed to provide a platform for distinguished Austin Prep alumni to connect with fellow alumni, current Austin Prep students, parents, faculty and staff, while reflecting on Austin Prep experiences that helped shape their lives. Panelists will have the opportunity to discuss current trends and their contributions in their field, and expand on the career path that led to their current role. The series of talks – which begins this month and will run through June – will focus on areas ranging from media relations, finance, arts, and more, and will be open to the entire school community.
The series debuts November 10th with “College Athletics During a Pandemic” and will feature Jim Knowlton ’78, the current Director of Athletics at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Knowlton will cover several areas of interest including but not limited to the impact the pandemic has had on the short-term future of college athletics, NCAA recruiting and impact on high school juniors, and the financial impact on colleges.
Mr. Knowlton, who has established himself as a dynamic leader and accomplished administrator through service in intercollegiate athletics and the U.S. Army, is in his third year as Director of Athletics at Cal. Prior to that, Mr. Knowlton served as the Director of Athletics at the United States Air Force Academy and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in addition to holding administrative and teaching roles at the United States Military Academy West Point.
Outside of intercollegiate athletics, Mr. Knowlton held leadership positions for more than two decades in the U.S. Army, including as head of a battalion of 750 men and women while stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado, before deploying to Iraq. He retired from the Army in 2008 as a colonel with 26 years of service.
Mr. Knowlton received his bachelor's degree in engineering in 1982 from West Point, where he was a four-year letter-winner and captain of the varsity ice hockey team. Mr. Knowlton received a master's degree in civil engineering from Cornell University.
Throughout his career, Mr. Knowlton has focused on and successfully fostered programs that place a premium on leadership and character development among student-athletes, coaches and staff. He has demonstrated an unfailing commitment to high achievement, both in academics and athletics, has a proven track record as a fundraiser, and has shown a consistent ability to take on complex challenges and develop strategic solutions to meet them.
The November 10th webinar will begin at 7:00 p.m. and will be hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations and moderated by Jonathan Pollard ’97, Assistant Head for Enrollment and Athletics at Austin Prep. Mr. Pollard also currently serves as Austin Prep’s Head Baseball Coach and was the school’s Director of Athletics from 2014-2019. Credentials for the webinar will be made available to the school community in advance of the webinar.
The next Austin Prep Presents event will take place November 24th and feature Joe Sciacca ’75, Former Editor-in-Chief at the Boston Herald and current Enterprise Editor for 7 News WHDH-TV in Boston, who will discuss “Crisis Communications: Navigating the Media During Tumultuous Times.” The full schedule of Austin Prep Presents speakers will be made available on our website.