WASHINGTON – Sam Atkinson, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at Gallaudet University, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The Kenworthy Award is named after former Gettysburg College Sports Information Director Bob Kenworthy and is presented annually to a CoSIDA member for civic involvement and accomplishments outside of the sports information office. Atkinson will accept the honor at the CoSIDA Convention on Wednesday, June 11, in Orlando, Fla.
"On behalf of Gallaudet University and our athletic department, I extend our congratulations to Sam for his Kenworthy Award honor which acknowledges his great service to CoSIDA and to our community as well," said Gallaudet Athletic Director Michael Weinstock. "We are extremely proud of Sam and his work on our campus and in the community. He is an extraordinary young collegiate athletics professional and leader."
Atkinson, a 2000 alumnus of Salisbury University and a native of Phoenix, Md., has served as Gallaudet’s sports information director since 2009. Atkinson received his master’s degree in sports industry management last May from Georgetown University. Besides handling sports information duties at Gallaudet, Atkinson is active with CoSIDA serving as the chair of the Goodwill and Wellness committee for the past seven years.
Through his work with the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee, Atkinson has helped to orchestrate four service projects at the site of the annual CoSIDA Convention. They have worked in San Antonio (2009) with the San Antonio Food Bank, in San Francisco (2010) with the St. Anthony Foundation, in St. Louis (2012) with the St. Patrick Center and in Orlando (2013) with the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, hosting a special "water play day" for the families in need. All total, 82 CoSIDA participants have volunteered over 200 hours at one of these four service projects.
For the past three years, a 5K fun run/walk has been organized and run by the CoSIDA Goodwill and Wellness Committee, led by Atkinson. The 5K has drawn over 115 participants per year and has raised nearly $4,000 since 2011. The proceeds have been donated to the local charities the committee has worked with for its annual service project and/or donation drive; which has collected hundred of items in four years. The committee is busy planning the service project, donation drive and 5K fun run/walk taking place at the 2014 CoSIDA Convention.
In his five years at Gallaudet, Atkinson has assembled a strong deaf and hard of hearing student work force and created an internship program through nearby Georgetown University that has helped launch numerous student’s sports careers. Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies recognized Atkinson’s internship program last December.
Atkinson has helped raise Gallaudet's national stature with unprecedented media coverage as Bison athletics has been featured by the likes of ABC News, CBS Evening News, ESPN, Comcast Sportsnet, National Public Radio, local Washington, D.C., television stations and written about by Associated Press, ESPN the Magazine, New York Times, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Post Magazine and Yahoo Sports.
"Personally, I am very proud to have Sam on my staff as our communications director. He really knows how to find the great stories and has coordinated a lot of national publicity for our university," Weinstock said.
Atkinson has established and operates all of Gallaudet athletics' social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube). Gallaudet's Instagram is the top Division III instagram account in the country for followers. This past year, he led Gallaudet's efforts to re-design its athletics website - www.gallaudetathletics.com - working with PrestoSports.
Along with all of his activities, Atkinson’s top priority has always been his wife, Emily, and their two daughters, Clare and Molly.
Prior to arriving at Gallaudet, Atkinson was the sports information director at Salisbury University for three years. He covered and promoted Salisbury's 21 varsity sports that captured 28 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championships in three years. He promoted SU's two-time defending NCAA Division III men's lacrosse national champions (2007, '08) along with two women's lacrosse national finalist teams (2007, '09) and a national semifinalist field hockey team (2007). During his tenure at SU he covered 394 All-CAC honorees, 69 All-Americans and 38 All-Atlantic Central Football Conference selections. He also had the pleasure to promote Salisbury women's lacrosse standout Sue Ackermann who was named a finalist for the 2008 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Atkinson hosted nearly 50 NCAA tournament games in three years as SU served as a regional host seven times in five different sports.
Bob Kenworthy Community Service Award Recipients
2014 Sam Atkinson (Gallaudet University)
2013 Jamie Weir Baldwin (Michigan State University)
2012 Rich Herman (Clarion University)
2011 Dr. Bill Smith (Arkansas)
2010 Tim Kennedy (Gustavus Adolphus)
2009 Doug Hauschild (Dayton)
2008 Debbie Copp (Oklahoma)
2007 Dave Wohlhueter (Cornell-retired)
2006 Judy Willson (Louisiana-Monroe)
2005 Edward Hill, Jr. (Howard University)
2004 Bob Nygaard (Minnesota-Duluth)
2003 David Sherwood (Wingate)
2002 Becky Paull (Idaho)
2001 Lonza Hardy Jr. (Southwestern Athletic Conference)
2000 Will Keener (Calfornia State Stanislaus)
1999 Jack Grinold (Northeastern)
1998 Bill Hamilton (South Carolina State)
1997 Norman Gough (Mississippi College)
1996 Sheila Stevenson (Rowan College)
1995 Wylie Smith (Northern Arizona)