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Life Skills Program Enhanced Through Partnership
Oct. 11, 2017

By Brad Muller | More Features

South Carolina takes pride in getting student-athletes to reach their potential in and out of the playing arena. As part of the Gamecock Promise, South Carolina Athletics provides a robust Life Skills program which has been further enhanced through a partnership with Wells Fargo for the second consecutive year. Through the “When the Gamecocks Win, Wells Fargo Gives Back” initiative, the company donates $18.01 to the Life Skills program for each Gamecock victory in every sport. The numerical value represents the year that the University was founded.

“Wells Fargo is committed to academic and athletic excellence, as well as personal and career development for all Gamecock student-athletes,” said Tommy Volz, Regional Marketing Manager for Wells Fargo. “When the Gamecocks win, Wells Fargo gives back and together we’ll go far. Between the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 academic years Wells Fargo will donate $20,000 towards the Life Skills program.”

“A part of that goes to our Gamecock Leadership Academy,” said Maria Hickman, Associate Athletics Director for Academics and Student Development. “We have a large portion of our student-athletes in that program. We also have folks come in from Wells Fargo to speak to those students. The Leadership Academy has been met with a lot of enthusiasm. It gives them a lot of knowledge that they can use to not only help their teams, but to also help themselves in life.”

With such assistance, South Carolina Athletics continues to grow in its offerings for student-athletes outside the realm of sports competition.

“Student-athletes that attend the University of South Carolina receive the highest quality athletic, academic, and life skills experience available in intercollegiate athletics,” said Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “That commitment pervades through all of our programs, whether it is strength training and conditioning, nutrition, and our Leadership Academy and Beyond Sports programs. We appreciate Wells Fargo helping to fund our Life Skills programs that are so important to the student-athlete experience at USC.”

It’s a commitment to prepare you for what’s coming next in life.
Maria Hickman, Assoc. A.D.

“We believe that supporting education is one of the most important investments we can make in our state’s future,” Volz added. “Today’s young people are tomorrow’s business owners, leaders and teachers, and we are proud to support the Gamecock Life Skills program.”

The Life Skills program at South Carolina not only includes the Gamecock Leadership Academy and the Beyond Sports Professional Development and Summer Internship program, but also annual programming such as the new student-athlete orientation, financial literacy seminar, professional dress and etiquette dinner, and the professional networking seminar.

Hickman noted that the Life Skills program in its current form can’t exist on its own, so the outside support is a big help in making a good program better.

“It helps us take it one step further,” Hickman said. “We already have great resources, but now we can lean on them to help us out with things that we may not have had otherwise.

“It allows us to not only assist them while they’re here, but we talk about all of our life skills programming with recruits when they come on campus with their parents. It shows how we are committed to them, not just for their four or five years when they’re here, but for life. Once you become part of the Gamecock family, you’re a part of it for life.”

All of these programs go back to one of the core missions of the Gamecock Promise in providing a championship experience for student-athletes in all phases of their undertakings at the University.

“We’re working to prepare them for life off the field and court,” Hickman said. “It’s not just about being the best in your sport and in the classroom, but how are you being a better person. That’s what this life skills program offers our student-athletes. We always want to make sure our student-athletes are getting the best on the field or on the court, the best in the classroom, and the best for life afterwards because the majority of the student-athletes will not be a professional in their sport. It’s a commitment to prepare you for what’s coming next in life.”

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