Posted on Friday, August 27, 2021
Jason Lener '93, a former Titan football player and Business Administration major, began his new duties as Director of Athletics at Westminster College last month. With extensive experiences in athletic administration, as well as a deep commitment to the College backing him, he shares a bit more about why he takes great responsibility for positively influencing the lives of current and future Titans.
Why did you have a desire to return to Westminster College in this capacity?
You are always connected to your alma mater but even more so when you sport a football jersey and represent your school. When you work in intercollegiate athletics, you always hope of one day returning to your alma mater as Athletic Director. At Westminster, that opportunity only comes along once in a lifetime. To be able to return to where my collegiate career began and to lead young men and women in their own athletic endeavors is somethings that I am extremely grateful for. My goal is to provide them the same experience that I had when I played here so that our student athletes have a transformational four years on campus, leave with a degree, and a wonderful college experience that will impact their life forever.
Why is it important that Westminster continues to have a strong and robust athletics program?
Westminster College has a very strong tradition of academic excellence and athletic success. We are a school where you can win championships and have a wonderful academic experience at the same time. Athletics are often considered the front porch of an institution and it is important for me to continue our rich history while creating memorable moments for our current and future student athletes. Athletics is an important part of our campus community and is an integral component in the recruitment of our overall student body. It is my responsibility to ensure that we continue the history of Titan athletics for our future students, fans, and many wonderful Westminster alumni.
Why do you find it life-giving to enter into this role at this time?
As the Athletic Director, I am fortunate to work with tremendous coaches, staff, and student-athletes. To be in a role where you can influence the lives of so many young people is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Playing sports in college is demanding, but at the same time, provides our young adults with life skills that will prepare them for life when they graduate. Participating in intercollegiate athletics helped mold who I am today as Athletic Director, person, father, and husband. My hope is that the four years our current and future student-athletes have on campus has the same impact on them.
Tell me about your life following your time at Westminster.
When I left Westminster in 1993, I attended graduate school at Robert Morris University where I received my MBA and was a graduate assistant football coach. After graduation, I started my athletic administration journey at the University of Pittsburgh where I worked in various roles for ten years. In 2006, my career took me to Miami University in Oxford, OH where I served as the Deputy Athletic Director for a little more than five years. In 2011, I accepted a position at the University of Illinois, where I was employed until accepting the Athletic Director position at Westminster. During my time in Illinois, our three kids graduated from high school and are all currently attending college. Our daughter, McKinley, is a senior at the University of Illinois; our daughter, Callan, is a sophomore at Illinois Wesylan University; and our son, Cole, is a freshman at Penn State. My wife Jodi (Boston) is also a Westminster graduate, class of 1992.
What can someone find you doing outside of work?
With a career in athletics comes a lot of evening and weekend commitments attending games to support your coaches and student-athletes, so free time has been rare. With three kids, we spent much of our time watching our girls cheer for the school and traveled all over Illinois to watch our son play soccer, baseball and basketball. When I'm not spending time with my family, I enjoy walking our family dog and exercising. With our move back to the area, we are looking forward to spending time with our extended family who reside in Western PA.
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