January 27, 2015, BY Christina Masciere Wallace

A gift from an alumnus will strengthen the successful Bucknell Bison Leadership Academy for student-athletes.

Trustee emeritus William Dearstyne '62 recently designated a seven-figure gift to support the program, which trains a select group of sophomores, juniors and seniors to become more effective leaders for their teams. His gift will fund a full-time directorship for the growing program, now in its fourth year.

"Since Bucknell has been outstanding in athletic competition, it seemed to me that we should also be outstanding in terms of student leadership," said Dearstyne, a champion swimmer and member of the Bison Athletics Hall of Fame. "This is a way to distinguish our athletics program from others. It won't be measured in win and loss records, but in more subjective ways, over a longer period of time."

The University established the Bison Leadership Academy in 2011 as part of a Patriot League-wide initiative to help selected student-athletes become more effective leaders. Each academic year, about 60 participants learn to lead their teammates and smoothly transition team leadership from year to year as captains graduate. Bucknell coaches and guest speakers facilitate the sessions, which build skills that translate to the classroom, campus and life after graduation.

"Bill's generous gift will impact Bucknell student-athletes well beyond competitive venues," said John Hardt, director of athletics and recreation. "We strive to develop student-athletes who will go on to become future leaders in all of their endeavors. The Leadership Academy advances that mission."

Dearstyne's gift counts toward We Do, The Campaign for Bucknell University, which aims to raise $500 million. | Learn more about We Do