Nicholas Ullian ’24, Young Do Kim and Sport Management Society honored with Dr. Leo M. Lambert Awards

Student leaders, organizations, and faculty and staff advisers from across the university community were honored on May 4 during the 28th annual Dr. Leo M. Lambert Awards ceremony.

Elon University’s Sport Management Society and its members capped off a successful 2022-23 academic year with several accolades at the 28th annual Dr. Leo M. Lambert Awards ceremony.

Hosted by the Elon Student Government Association, the May 4 event recognized outstanding student organizations, programs and leaders for their exemplary service to their group and the university community. Among the award recipients were the Sport Management Society, club president Nicholas Ullian ’24, and Young Do Kim, associate professor of sport management, who advises the organization.

Members of the Sport Management Society’s executive board accept the University Program of the Year (department-funded or department-managed group) award at the 28th annual Dr. Leo M. Lambert Awards ceremony. Pictured (from left) are Nicholas Ullian, Will Ferris and Danny Gagne. Photo courtesy of Young Do Kim.

A student-run organization that connects sport management majors and minors with fellow students, professors and industry professionals, the Sport Management Society hosted a company visit and networking event at a November 2022 Carolina Hurricanes game that earned University Program of the Year (department-funded or department-managed group). The NHL facility visit included a behind-the-scenes tour of PNC Arena and opportunities to speak with six full-time employees working in sales, marketing, media and player operations.

Memorably, one of the vans transporting the Elon students home from the game suffered a flat tire, and club officers had to coordinate a safe return to campus – yet another example of the organization’s successful collaborations, Kim explained. “This is another reason why this award is more meaningful and memorable for the society,” the adviser said.

Additionally, Ullian was honored with the Student Organization Officer of the Year award, recognizing his leadership, commitment, character and hard work, and Kim was named the recipient of the Gerald Francis Award for Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year.

In October, the Sport Management Society attended a preseason NBA game at the Greensboro Coliseum featuring the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics.

During the past academic year, the Sport Management Society has capitalized on heightened interest in the sport industry and strong student engagement to increase membership to 70 students. In fact, the club’s membership has increased nearly 250 percent in the past year.

“This growth is a positive sign for the organization’s future sustainability and impact going forward,” Ullian said.

In addition to the Hurricanes game, the society organized gatherings at sporting contests with the Charlotte Hornets, Durham Bulls, Charlotte FC and North Carolina State University men’s basketball program. The organization also hosted multiple speakers, including Pam Kenn, vice president for community, alumni and player relations for the Boston Red Sox, and Felisa Israel, former director of entertainment with the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and NBA.

“These events provided opportunities for students to build broader knowledge of the sport industry, narrow down specific career goals, and build relationships that will last beyond Elon,” Ullian said.

Kim commended Ullian for his leadership, which helped establish clear objectives and strived to meet student interests. As part of Ullian’s efforts, the society crafted the organization’s first-ever mission statement.

“Nick is a true servant leader who selflessly puts his time and effort into finding ways to benefit the society members,” Kim said. “It is great to see Nick and his team’s hard work, leadership and teamwork recognized by the university. Ultimately, an honor like this enhances the club’s reputation, and it is also proof of Nick and his team’s contributions to the culture and life of the university.”

This year’s Sport Management Society executive board consists of Ullian, Will Ferris and Danny Gagne (vice presidents), Laker Figueroa (treasurer), and Adger Lewis (secretary).