Dr. Leeds among finalists for national faculty mentor award

As the Faculty Athletics Representative at Dominican, Dr. Christopher Leeds makes his Penguin student-athletes his business. But his interest and support doesn’t end when their games are over.

“Keeping in touch with them for years afterward as alumni is to me the most rewarding part of the job,” says Dr. Leeds, a professor in the Barowsky School of Business since 2002. “Seeing them develop here for four years and turn into incredible people down the road.

Now it’s time for their eyes to be on Dr. Leeds. During March 5's  Pacific West Conference Basketball Tournament semifinals, he was recognized as one of 14 finalists nationwide in NCAA Division II for the Dr. Dave Pariser Faculty Mentor Award. The award was created by the D2 Student Athletic Advisory Committee to honor an institutional faculty member who has demonstrated dedication, support, and guidance to student-athletes and the institution's athletics program. The award was posthumously named for the inaugural winner of the award in 2013, Dr. Dave Pariser of Bellarmine University, who passed away January 14, 2013.

“It always wonderful to be recognized by your colleagues and peers and it’s even nicer to be nominated by the people you work with and your students,” Dr. Leeds says. “The most important thing is that the students were a part of it. That’s fantastic.”

Dr. Leeds, who received his BA in Hospitality Business from Michigan State University in 1976, earned his MBA in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship then his doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

With Dr. Leeds’ help, Dominican student-athletes have won or shared the Pacific West Conference Academic Achievement Award eight times in the nine years the University has been a conference member. During the 2017-18 academic year, Penguins student-athletes posted a 3.421 grade-point average, the third-best in conference history. It marks the fifth-consecutive year that the top school in the PacWest eclipsed a 3.4 GPA. Dominican surpassed the 3.4 mark in 2015-16 as well, but narrowly missed winning the award despite its 3.41 program GPA.

“I do have a unique role and the best part of it is being able to work with all the student-athletes,” Dr. Leeds says. “Our student-athletes are remarkable. They balance academics, their sport, volunteering, and most work in internships as they prepare for their careers. Probably the most rewarding thing is seeing them succeed while the toughest thing is watching each class graduate.”


March 5, 2019