Landmark Conference History
LANDMARK CONFERENCE HISTORY (Updated 9/15/2010):
On February 6, 2006 a group of like minded Chief Executive Officers of Colleges, Universities and a Military Academy, located in the middle Atlantic region of the United States, met and formed an organization to engage in athletic competition and other collaborative activities, while holding paramount the centrality of the academic mission at each institution. A complete history detailing the formation of the Landmark Conference and subsequent conference activity is shown below.
In early July of 2005 Juniata College (Juniata) and Moravian
College (Moravian) accepted an invitation to join the Centennial
Conference in football. Shortly thereafter, Susquehanna University
(Susquehanna) accepted an invitation to join the Liberty Conference
in football. The three institutions withdrew from the Middle
Atlantic Conference (MASCAC) in the sport of football.
In order for Juniata, Moravian and Susquehanna to continue to compete in the MASCAC in sports other than football the conference presidents were requested to change their Bylaws which prevented a conference member from competing in a different conference in football, while remaining eligible in other conference sports.
On Monday, October 24, 2005 the MASCAC presidents met to consider the request that the Corporation’s Bylaws be revised to accommodate the three members who were committed to play football in other conferences. The proposal to amend the Bylaw section that prevented this circumstance did not pass. The final sentence of the MASCAC memorandum announcing this decision to the conference presidents’ states: For the schools leaving the Corporation, it has been a great association, and the remaining members wish them well in their new athletic pursuits (a copy of the MASCAC memorandum is presented in appendix 1).
On October 26, 2005, Juniata, Moravian and Susquehanna had little choice other than to withdraw from the MASCAC, effective June, 2007.
In anticipation of the possible negative vote on the Bylaw change by the MASCAC presidents, on September 19, 2005, the Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s) at Juniata, Moravian, Susquehanna, and a few other comparable institutions, including, but not limited to, future new conference members; Drew University (Drew), Goucher College (Goucher) Steven’s Institute of Technology (Steven’s) and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) discussed the possibility of MASCAC realignment or a new conference.
Immediately following the decision of the presidents of the MASCAC not to change their Bylaws, President Thomas Kepple (Juniata College) formally, by letter, asked a number of comparable institutions if they had interest in being a member of a new academically centered Division III conference. The responses indicated significant interest in a new conference.
On November 10, 2005 the athletics directors at Drew, Goucher, Juniata, Moravian, Steven’s, Susquehanna, The Catholic University of America (Catholic) and USMMA met and agreed on principles and a timetable for the development of a new conference (copies of the documents generated at this meeting are presented in appendix 2).
The Chief Executive Officers of the eight institutions named immediately above: Dr. Robert Weisbuch, Drew University, President Sanford J.Ungar, Goucher College, Dr. Thomas R. Kepple, Jr. Juniata College, Dr. Ervin J. Rokke, Moravian College, Dr. L. Jay Lemons, Susquehanna University, Very Reverend David M. O’Connell, The Catholic University of America, a representative of President Harold J. Ravich, Steven’s Institute of Technology, and Vice Admiral Joseph Stewart, the United States Merchant Marine Academy met on November 29, 2005, by conference call, and agreed to form a new conference, temporarily named “the Conference of 8”. During the summer of 2006 Dr. Christopher Thomforde succeeded Dr. Rokke as President of Moravian College and led Moravian in the new venture.
On December 5, 2005, or shortly thereafter, the CEO’s at Drew, Goucher, Juniata, Moravian, Steven’s, Susquehanna, Catholic and USMMA committed in writing to become a member of the new conference; to consider it their primary conference and to remain in the conference for at least five years (a copy of the commitment letter is presented in appendix 3).
The CEO’s of the “Conference of 8” met on February 6, 2006 and on the recommendation of the athletics directors agreed to the following: (1) Each institution would contribute $10,000 to cover conference start-up expenses with an additional $1 5,000 due in the summer of 2006 to cover expenses through May 31, 2007; (2) That a Commissioner be hired in September of 2006 and that an Assistant Commissioner be hired by June of 2007 and (3) That the name of the conference would be the Landmark Conference (the memorandum from the athletics directors to the CEO’s in preparation for this meeting is presented in appendix 4).
The official announcement of the creation of the Landmark Conference was released on June 6, 2006 (two releases are presented in appendix 5).
Earlier, on March 7, 2006, the Landmark Conference faced its first challenge: Steven’s Institute of Technology withdrew from the Landmark Conference and instead committed to joining the Empire 8 Conference (Steven’s letter of withdraw and the announcement of their action is presented in appendix 6).
Following the creation of the Landmark Conference the athletics directors have met weekly, or every other week, developing a constitution, bylaws, administrative procedures and sport codes of conduct. These meetings continued after a Commissioner, Dr. John A.Reeves, recently retired Athletics Director at Columbia University in New York was named on September 1, 2006 and became involved (an announcement of the appointment of the first Landmark Conference Commissioner is presented in appendix 7).
In September of 2006 the conference office was established at Drew University in Madison NJ.
On September 21, 2006 the CEO’s and the Commissioner met by conference call to discus the wisdom of adding a new eighth member to replace Steven’s. It was decided that a process should be created to decide what institution, if any, should be invited to become a member of the Landmark Conference.
The process and criteria for new membership in the Landmark Conference was created by the athletics directors and agreed upon by the CEO’s. (the process and criteria for new membership is presented in appendix 8).
Two institutions were invited to submit required materials for membership consideration. Both institutions complied. Site visits were made to the two institutions, first by the commissioner and then by a team that included one CEO and two athletics directors.
Following a review of the materials submitted and reports from the site visitors the CEO’s and the commissioner met by conference call on November 2nd and 3rd, 2006.
The CEO’s invited the University of Scranton (Scranton), led by Reverend Scott R. Pilarz, to join the Landmark Conference. Scranton accepted the invitation (Scranton’s announcement of membership in the Landmark is presented in appendix 9).
During the fall of 2006 a conference logo selection contest was announced .Each institution was asked to form a logo selection committee and to judge entries on their campus and select one to be presented to the CEO’s. The competition was open to individual students or student groups. The final selection from each of the eight institutions was submitted to the CEO’s at their February 6th 2007 annual meeting. The CEO’s selected the entry from Susquehanna submitted by Tim Storck 08’, a lacrosse student athlete. Various color combinations were later suggested by Mark Fertig, chairperson of the art department at Susquehanna and Tim Storck. Upon the recommendation of the athletics directors the CEO’s selected maroon (PMS 1815c) and blue (PMS 281c). (a description of the logo contest appears in appendix 10)
On December 7, the Sports Information Directors at each conference member institution were engaged to begin discussing the conference web-site host. A committee was established. Prestosports was ultimately selected from a group of potential vendors. A three year contract was signed with Prestosports (an announcement of this agreement is presented in appendix 11)
During the period between early September 2006 and late December 2006 competitive schedules were developed by the office of the commissioner with the help of various athletic directors.
On February 1st the announcement for the first Landmark Conference Assistant Commissioner was posted. Joel Cookson, Sports Information Director from Juniata College was selected from a pool of 125 candidates. Joel assumed the position on June 1, 2007.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association officially approved active membership for the Landmark Conference as a Division III athletics conference on Friday August 10, 2007 (see apendix 12).
The first official Landmark Conference contest took place on Saturday September 15, 2007. Scranton and USMMA played the first conference match with a men's soccer contest at Kings Point, New York.
Beginning February 5, 2008 and continuing February 6, the
Landmark held its first Landmark Collaboration/Integration
Institute held at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. The
Institute brought together 64 people (two student-athletes and
Chief Executive Officers, Chief Academic Officers, Athletics
Directors, Faculty Athletics Representatives and Senior
Women’s Administrators from all eight Landmark institutions)
to discuss issues involving collaboration and integration among
Landmark institutions along with sportsmanship. Daniel T. Dutcher,
NCAA Vice President for Division III served as the keynote speaker
for the first day of the Institute, while Moravian College
President Dr. Christopher Thomforde served as the speaker at the
conclusion of the two-day event.
On June 12, 2008 the Landmark Office announced Moravian as the winners of the inaugural Landmark Conference President’s All Sports Cup. Moravian placed first with a total of 6.861 finishing slight ahead of Scranton which was second with 6.859 points.
In June, 2008 Drew Athletics Director Connee Zotos retired from her position after 14 years to assume a position as a Clinical Associate Professor in the New York University Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports.
USMMA Superintendant Vice Admiral Joseph D. Stewart announced his retirement from his position on July 8, 2008. Vice Admiral Stewart served as the Superintendant at USMMA for 10 years.
On August 11, 2008 Drew announced the hiring of Jason Fein, previously the Athletics Director at the College of Staten Island, as its new Director of Athletics.
In November, 2008 Rear Admiral Allen B. Worley assumed the position of Superintendant at USMMA, becoming the 10th person to hold that position since the institutions dedication in 1943.
On February 3 and 4, 2009 the Landmark held its second Collaboration/Integration Institute with a focus on sportsmanship and student-athlete well-being. Four head coaches and two student-athletes along with the Chief Academic Officers and Athletics Directors attended the event. Janet Judge of Sports Law Associates served as the featured speaker for the first day of the Institute.
Moravian repeated as the winner of the Landmark Conference President’s All Sports Cup as announced on June 3, 2009. Moravian placed first with 7.222 points with Scranton placing second with 6.719 points.
Three Landmark institutions came together on July 22, 2009 for the Landmark Summer Research Conference, an event which realized the conference goal of academic collaboration. Students from Goucher, Juniata and Susquehanna presented research topics as part of the event.
Also in an effort to foster institutional collaboration, three CEOs met on the Moravian campus in the spring of 2009 to investigate ways to collaborate in the area of study abroad. Plans for collaborative programs hope to be in place for the 2010-2011 academic year.
At the conclusion of the 2009 fall sports season the conference earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships for the first time. The following teams won the Landmark Championships to earn the first NCAA automatic bids: Catholic men's soccer, Catholic women's soccer, Juniata field hockey and Juniata women's volleyball.
On February 17, 2010 Moravian announced it would be discontinuing its men's and women's lacrosse programs following the conclusion of the 2010 season as part of college-wide cost-cutting measures.
Susquehanna won the 2009-10 Landmark Conference President's All Sports Cup as announced on May 5, 2010. Susquehanna placed first with 6.850 points, narrowly edging two-time defending champion Moravian which had 6.667.
Juniata was announced as the inaugural winner of the Landmark Student-Athlete Advisory Sportsmanship Cup. Juniata finished with 9.000 points outdistancing Goucher which placed second with 6.688. The Landmark SAAC Sportsmanship Cup was created by the Landmark Student-Athlete Advisory Committee as a parallel to the Landmark President's All-Sports Cup. The Cup is to recognize the institution that displayed the best sportsmanship throughout the season as voted on by Landmark coaches in consultation with student-athletes.
Dr. John H. Garvey was announced as the 15th President of Catholic on June 30, 2010, replacing outgoing President the Very Reverend David O'Connell. He began his tenure as Catholic President on July 1, 2010.
On August 30, 2010 Rear Admiral Philip Greene, Jr. was appointed the 11th Superintendant of the USMMA. A graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, he relieves Dr. Shashi Kumar who had been serving as the Interim Superintendant since the summer of 2009.
NOTE: Materials in the appendices are on file in the Landmark Conference Office.