PAWTUCKET, R.I. – Pamela S. Samuelson, PhD has been named the next commissioner of the Little East Conference (LEC), it was announced Friday by Rhode Island College President Frank Sánchez, who chaired the search committee. Samuelson will assume leadership of New England's premiere NCAA Division III conference for public institutions July 22, 2019.
"As Chair of the Search Committee, I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Samuelson as the new Commissioner of the Little East Conference," said Sánchez. "There was great interest in this position and we interviewed a number of highly-qualified candidates, but Pamela's deep expertise, passion for college athletics and record of accomplishment contributed to her unanimous selection. We were particularly impressed by the integral role she played in the development of the Landmark Conference. With that kind of leadership in place, we are confident that the Little East Conference will continue to grow and thrive under Commissioner Samuelson."
Samuelson will be the eighth commissioner in the LEC's 33-year history, and the fifth to serve in the role in a full-time capacity. She will succeed Cora H.L. Brumley, who will depart the Conference following a one-month transition period to pursue opportunities outside of collegiate athletics.
"I want to thank President Sánchez and members of the search committee for giving me this terrific opportunity," said Samuelson. "I was immediately impressed by the professionalism and collegiality among the Presidents and administrators during the search process. While I am excited about the quality of the institutions, the athletics programs and the level of competitiveness in the league, I more importantly have great respect for the work that coaches and administrators are doing with the student-athletes on their campuses to develop the 'total person.' I look forward to working with the Presidents, administrators and coaches to continue to move the LEC forward in providing the best possible student-athlete experience."
Samuelson will join the LEC after spending the last 16 years as director of athletics at NCAA Division III Susquehanna University, where she leads a 23-sport varsity athletics program in addition to overseeing club sport, intramural and recreation programs. In addition to managing a multi-million-dollar budget and a staff that consists of 24 full-time and 45 part-time employees, Samuelson has guided the program through significant, program-wide advancements.
Under her leadership, Susquehanna was a founding member of the Landmark Conference in 2007 and underwent a major rebranding initiative that resulted in a new nickname and brand identity being adopted in 2016. She served as Landmark Conference Chairperson from 2012-14, and saw Susquehanna capture four Landmark President's Trophy titles as the conference top athletics program. Off the field, she directed the creation of the department's mission and vision statements, the SU Intern program, which led to dramatic increases in applications and enrolled student-athletes, and SU FACT (Female Athlete Connection Team), a program that connects female alumnae with current student-athletes.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity given by Presidents Jay Lemons and Jonathan Green to serve as the Director of Athletics at SU for the past sixteen years," said Samuelson. "While I am excited about my new role with the Little East Conference, SU is a special place and leaving is somewhat bittersweet. It has been a privilege to work with so many talented and professional coaches, staff and faculty throughout my sixteen years. I am proud of the work done to provide a quality experience for our student-athletes, and I am grateful to have been a part of it."
In addition to her day-to-day activities, Samuelson served on a variety of institutional committees, including the Presidential Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion and the Task Force on the Freeh Report. She was also a member of search committees for the positions of Vice President for Student Life and Chief Diversity Officer. Her own efforts to increase diversity within the athletic department saw an increase from one to nine staff members of color.
Samuelson is no stranger to the Little East Conference, having served as assistant director of athletics at UMass Boston from 1998 until her departure for Susquehanna in 2003. She was involved in all aspects of the Beacons' then 18-sport program in addition to overseeing the sports medicine and sports information offices, academic advising, the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, and the strength & conditioning program. Prior to her arrival at Columbia Point, Samuelson spent three years as director of athletics at Curry College after starting her career in athletics administration at Beloit College (Wisconsin) in 1987, where she spent her final eight years as the Coordinator of Women's Athletics.
A lifelong learner, Samuelson recently completed a certificate program through Harvard University's Graduate School of Education's Institute for Leadership and Management in Education in 2017. She completed her Bachelor of Science in business administration and physical education at fellow Division III member Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1981, and earned her master's degree in physical education administration from Chadron State College in 1985. Samuelson went on to earn her doctorate in higher education administration from Boston College in December 2003.
Samuelson is an active member of the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators (NADIIIA), for which she has served as an Executive Board member since 2016. A former standout student-athlete on the basketball and volleyball courts, Samuelson is a member of both the Nebraska Wesleyan and Lincoln (Neb.) Northeast High School Halls of Fame.
About the Little East Conference
The Little East Conference (LEC) was formed in 1986 when six public institutions gathered to create a single sport athletic conference and has expanded into what is now New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. The LEC features 19 championship sports and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student-athletes, while following the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship. The Little East consists of nine primary institutions that encompass all six New England states – Castleton University (Vt.), Eastern Connecticut State University, Keene State College (N.H.), UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, Plymouth State University (N.H.), Rhode Island College, University of Southern Maine, and Western Connecticut State University.