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State board OK’s new sports leadership program at UMass Boston

“The sports leadership program will allow UMass Boston to educate a new generation of diverse leaders in the sports world,” Interim Chancellor Barry Mills said in an e-mail.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File 2017
“The sports leadership program will allow UMass Boston to educate a new generation of diverse leaders in the sports world,” Interim Chancellor Barry Mills said in an e-mail.

The State Board of Higher Education has voted unanimously to approve a new sport leadership program at University of Massachusetts Boston, thanks to a $5 million gift from New Balance.

The donation from New Balance and its chairman Jim Davis is the largest donation ever given to the school.

Interim chancellor Barry Mills said in a statement that the program is aimed at creating a path to a desired industry for its students.

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“The sports leadership program will allow UMass Boston to educate a new generation of diverse leaders in the sports world,” Mills said in an e-mail. “We are very grateful to Jim Davis for his support and vision to endow this program.”

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The program — which was OK’d on Tuesday — will be led by an advisory board that includes representatives from Boston sports teams and famed Boston athletes, such as Olympic track athlete Edwin Moses, former New England Patriot Andre Tippett, former Boston Celtics player Tom “Satch” Sanders, and Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson.

The major will be 39 credits, including classes about sports, management, economics, marketing, and more. Students will be required to take business classes and encouraged to pursue a minor in that area. They also must participate in community service, mentorship programs, and three internships.

In fall 2018, the program will take 25 full-time and 10 part-time students, scaling up to 140 students by its fourth year.

UMass Boston said in the statement that the program aligns with its “urban mission and creates a talent pipeline for a growing industry in Massachusetts and across the nation.”

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“Too often, the message that young people from diverse communities receive is that their opportunities are confined to the playing fields,” Mills said in the statement. “But we are committed to making sure that management and leadership opportunities in the sports world will be available to them.”

Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laneyruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.