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Mission & Vision


The Rutgers Athletics Office for Leadership Development and Strategic Partnerships (LDSP) is driven by a constant pursuit of excellence, innovation, engagement and collaboration.

LDSP provides a programmatic and curricular vehicle that supports the holistic development of Rutgers Athletics varsity student-athletes, coaches and staff. In turn, LDSP is committed to the personal enhancement, community engagement, career and leadership development of all Scarlet Knights student-athletes during college and in life after sport via continual alumni engagement.

The Rutgers Leadership Academy, SAAC and other programs internal to LDSP aim to collectively support a personal growth culture for all members of the Rutgers Athletics Department and Scarlet Knight family.


The LDSP vision is to collectively influence the lives of the student-athletes at Rutgers University in their relentless pursuit of career, academic and personal success during college and in life after sport.


LDSP embraces each element of our core vision, mission and strategic plan. As we forward a tradition of excellence, we are committed to the personal, social, career and leadership enhancement of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators. In addition, LDSP aims to support members of the Scarlet Knight family during their intercollegiate experience and in life after sport via continual alumni engagement.


SAAC will also see a restructure in the executive board responsibilities to align with the Rutgers Athletics Office for Leadership Development and Strategic Partnerships’ new pillars. The 2018-19 board consists of President Dimitri Demos, Vice President Abbey Brooks, Joey Downes, Jenna Sobieski, and Karysa Swackenberg.

Demos will take the lead on Career and Employee Relations and Brooks will concentrate on Leadership. Downes is set to focus on Community Outreach, while Sobieski will concentrate on Alumni Engagement and Swackenberg will lead Student-Athlete Wellfare.

The full roster of the 2018-19 SAAC board and members can be found here.


The LDSP announced new hires to the staff this fall, including Mike Salm, Matt Muh, Jackie Kelly, and Christine DiLullo. Salm will serve as the Director for Leadership Development and Strategic Partnerships, while Muh joins the staff as an Intern. Additionally, Kelly comes on board as the Coordinator for Student-Athlete Engagement and Welfare, while DiLullo is welcomed as an Intern and Coordinator for Career and Employee Relations.

A full release of the new hires can be found here.

“Our whole department is set to focus on a growth mindset for student-athletes, coaches and staff as we launch our strategic plan” said Navarro. “Overall, the Rutgers Athletics Office for Leadership Development and Strategic Partnerships will seek to develop student-athletes for long-term success in athletics, academics and life after sport. As laid out in the mission and vision, this will be accomplished via intentional leadership training, campus engagement and personal development.  We will provide an environment that supports the mission of the University and a championship experience.”

Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates on the LDSP, follow @RULeadDev on Twitter and Instagram.