Ben Jay Named New Director of Athletics

    With over 25 years of experience, the “national leader in collegiate athletics” is looking forward to taking teams to championships in the PacWest

    Ben Jay

    Ben Jay. Photo courtesy of Art U Athletics.

    Academy of Art University Athletics and President Dr. Elisa Stephens have announced the appointment of Ben Jay as the department’s Director of Athletics. Jay, who brings over 25 years of collegiate athletics experience and was most recently Director of Athletics at the University of Hawaii, will be handed the baton from Senior Advisor of Athletics Terry Tumey, who departs Academy of Art to become director of Athletics at Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps.

    “Ben is a national leader in collegiate athletics,” said Tumey. “From his background with University of Hawaii, the Pac-10 Conference and The Ohio State University, we are both confident and honored to have him guide us into this next chapter of Academy of Art University Athletics.”

    At the start of 2013, Ben Jay was formally introduced as the University of Hawaii’s Athletics Director where he would oversee 145 staff members and coaches along with the nearly 500 student-athletes who competed for the Rainbow Warriors’ 21 sports. 


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    Athletes Volunteer at SF Toy & Book Festival


    L–R) President Stephens, Safua Elisaia (volleyball), Bailey Soolsma (volleyball) and Jarred Gregory-Grimes (cross country/track & field).

    Academy of Art University student-athletes headed to City Hall on Dec. 2 to lend firefighters a hand by distributing toys to 1,200 children at the San Francisco Children’s Toy & Book Festival.

    The annual event is held by Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco Firefighters’ Union Local 798. Toys for the festival are collected through donations to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, the oldest toy drive in the country run by off-duty firefighters and their families.

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    Valentin Pepiot Named All-American, Pierre Fontanarosa 71st

    MXC - LtoR Valentin Pepiot & Pierre Fontanarosa (by Torrey Olson)

    Valentin Pepiot and Pierre Fontanarosa. Photo by Torrey Olson.

    On a cold morning at Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course in Missouri for the NCAA Division II National Championship, senior Valentin Pepiot (Multimedia Communications) became the first Academy of Art University men’s cross country NCAA All-American on Nov. 21.

    Finishing the highest of any Urban Knight in program history at seventh overall, Pepiot completed the 10k course as the second runner from the elite West Region. Fellow Frenchman graduate student Pierre Fontanarosa (Multimedia Communications) came in at 71st overall out of 246 total competitors.

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    Softball Urban Knights Interning With Oakland Raiders, NFL

    Oakland Coliseum - Oakland Raiders (photo by Andrea Gill) Coliseum. Photo by Andrea Gill.

    Continuing a tradition of artist-athletes working for professional sports organizations, Academy of Art University softball artist-athletes Haily MacDonald, Jasmine Dickenson and Andrea Gill have embraced the once in a lifetime opportunity for the National Football League and the Oakland Raiders this season. MacDonald, a graphic design major, is currently involved with the NFL Player Participations Crew for the Raiders, while Dickenson and Gill, both photography majors, have been serving as photography interns for the Raiders since August.

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    Volleyball Sends off Seniors With a Win

    VB - Seniors Rachael Smith & Isabel Emrich (by Cameron De Lay)

    Seniors Rachael Smith and Isabel Emrich. Photo by Cameron De Lay.

    Following an emotional Senior Day ceremony prior to first serve on Nov. 21, Academy of Art University volleyball overcame Pacific West Conference rival Dominican for the 3–1 victory (15–25, 25–9, 25–16, 26–24). Senior setter Rachael Smith (Advertising) and senior opposite Isabel Emrich (Fine Art) both made strong contributions to the win in their final career match.

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    ART U Cross Country Cheered to Top Half at SF State Invite

    It was a buoyant atmosphere for the Urban Knights as they finished strong to sixth place

    XC Group (by Rob Garcia)

    Cross Country. Photo by Rob Garcia.

    More than 170 Urban Knight Nation faithful seemed to be there at every turn on Oct. 9, cheering on Academy of Art University cross country to strong finishes at the SF State Invitational. The women’s team, led by sophomore McKaela Christenson’s 19th place individual result, took ninth overall. On the men’s side, senior Valentin Pepiot (Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media) placed second, helping ART U earn sixth as a team.

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