2013 May

Academy Board of Trustee Member Dr. Nicholas Niccolai Named Top 50 Scholar/Researcher

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United States Sports Academy Board of Trustee member Dr. Nicholas Niccolai was recently selected as a top 50 scholar/researcher at the University of South Alabama’s 50th anniversary celebration in Mobile, Ala.

Niccolai was selected by USA’s Research Council to represent the many significant scientific contributions made by the university’s faculty and graduate students over the past 50 years. He was recognized for his research, scholarly and creative works.

Academy Board of Trustee member Dr. Nicholas Niccolai was recently honored as a top 50 Scholar/Research at the University of South Alabama's 50th Anniversary celebration.

“I was very surprised when I received the award and very grateful that I could represent the many achievements of USA’s School of Computer and Information Sciences,” says Niccolai, who joined the Academy’s Board of Trustees in 2000.

Niccolai’s recognition was for his work in computer science research. Done in collaboration with Niccolai’s colleague and close friend, Thomas Hain, the research project recognized for the award was completed under a grant by The Scott Paper Company in Mobile. The work is titled, “Research in the Production of Paper Products for Optimal Scheduling of Resources and Processes.”

“The work allowed Scott Paper Company to improve their production and resulted in significant cost savings,” Niccolai says.

During Niccolai’s 16 years at South Alabama, he served as director of the Undergraduate Computer Science Division, director of the Graduate Computer Science Division and director of graduate research for the School of CIS.

After retiring from the school in 1997, Niccolai joined the Minolta-QMS Corporation as senior vice president of engineering and quality assurance of the color laser printer division. At Minolta-QMS, he was responsible for designing and building the hardware and software for state-of-the-art color laser printers used in high-end graphics applications.

In 2002, Niccolai started working for Northrop Grumman – Ingalls Corporation in Mississippi as the director of process improvement. Niccolia joined Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in 2012, which was spun-off from Northrop Grumman. HII is the largest shipbuilder in the United States of Navy and Coast Guard warships. Niccolai served in the U.S. Navy Reserves for more than 26 years, retiring in 2003 as a Captain.

Longtime American Sportscaster Dick Enberg Earns the Academy’s 2013 Ronald Reagan Media Award

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The United States Sports Academy’s 2013 Ronald Reagan Media Award winner is Dick Enberg, one of America’s most versatile sportscasters who during his long career has called nearly every major sporting event from Wimbledons to Super Bowls.

Dick Enberg earned the Academy's 2013 Ronald Reagan Media Award.

Enberg, who provides play-by-play for the San Diego Padres, began broadcasting in 1957 and today remains the only sportscaster to win Emmys in three categories—broadcasting, writing and producing.

The Academy’s Ronald Reagan Media Award, named in honor of the 40th President of the United States, is presented annually to an individual for outstanding contributions to sport through broadcasting, print, photography or acting. The individual, like this year’s award winner, should exhibit imagination, excitement and genius in kindling a keen public interest and appreciation for the role of sport in modern society.

For more than half a century, Enberg provided play-by-play in various sports for such networks as NBC, who he worked with for 25 years, CBS, and ESPN. He became well known for his signature catchphrase during outstanding plays: “Oh, my!”

Enberg, Cal State Northridge’s assistant baseball coach and an assistant professor in the early 1960s, has proven just as good behind a pen as behind a mic. He wrote his autobiography, “Oh, My!” in 2004 and penned a one-man theatrical play, “COACH.” The play, which debuted in 2005, is a tribute to his former college basketball broadcast partner and late friend, Al McGuire.

Enberg, who the Academy recognized for its Media Award in 1989, has garnered many prestigious awards and honors over the years, including: 13 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Emmy; nine National Sportscaster of the Year awards from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and induction into that organization’s Hall of Fame; and even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In addition, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) honored Enberg in 1997 with an award in recognition of his longtime support of the organization’s Academic All-America program. The Dick Enberg Award is given annually to a person whose actions and commitment have furthered the meaning and reach of the Academic All-America Teams Program and the student-athlete, while promoting the values of education and academics. Enberg continues to be an avid supporter of the program, often lending his voice to video presentations related to CoSIDA’s annual Academic All-America Hall of Fame ceremony

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Congratulations to Our Newest Graduates!

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With rolling enrollment, the Academy’s students start their courses as soon as they are accepted without having to wait for the next semester to begin. The Academy is proud to announce its latest monthly graduates.

Bachelor’s Students
Norman E. Black (Milton, Fla.) – B.S.S. Sports Management

Master’s Students
Julie E. Barack (St. Clairsville, Ohio) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching Sports Psychology Emphasis
Michael Beau Bibb (Townville, S.C.) – M.S.S. Sports Fitness and Health
Jason M. Brew (Sparta, Mich.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Jessica Lee Brokaw (Bluefield, Va.) – M.S.S. Sports Management/M.S.S. Sports Coaching
Kelli Lynn Campbell (Glenpool, Okla.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
Taylor Lea Christian (Gainesville, Texas) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching/M.S.S. Sports Medicine
Adrian Michael Clewlow (Winchendon, Mass.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Douglas Olan Dennie (Kaufman, Texas) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Levi D. Henson (Sacramento, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies Sports Psychology Emphasis
Christopher P. Jones (Spanish Fork, Utah) – M.S.S. Sports Management/M.S.S. Sports Coaching
Jason Thomas Louder (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
Enrico M. Marcelli (Albuquerque, N.M.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
James Lee Martinez (Bishop, Texas) – M.S.S. Sports Coaching
Annette Francine Music (Queensbury, N.Y.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
Tomas C. Rodriguez (Yuba City, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Management
Brian S. Sinner (Torrington, Wyo.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
David Jeffery Slater (New Berlin, N.Y.) – M.S.S. Sports Fitness and Health
Andrew P. Slorp (Scottsdale, Ariz.) – M.S.S. Sports Studies
Courtney M. Warren (Pittsburg, Calif.) – M.S.S. Sports Management

Learn more about Academy programs at USSA.edu

People, Places & Programs

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Academy Vice President and COO Dr. T.J. Rosandich will be a featured speaker at the 2014 World Leisure Congress being held in Mobile, Ala., September 6-12.

Dr. Nick Niccolai, an Academy Board of Trustees member, at the University of South Alabama’s 50th anniversary celebration was selected and honored as a top 50 Scholar/Researcher.

The Big Sur International Marathon raised more that $10,000 to honor those lost at the April 15 Boston Marathon. Dr. Stephen Butler, the Academy's Dean of Instructional Design and Technology/Chief Information Officer, has played a part in Big Sur's events for 13 years.

Dr. Stephen Butler, the Academy’s Dean of Instructional Design and Technology/Chief Information Officer, was the Elite Director at the 28th presentation of the Big Sur International Marathon held April 28 in California.

Organized by Betsy Smith, the Academy’s Director of Continuing Education and Special Projects, the Shanghai Sports Study Tour included a visit of about two dozen Shanghai swimming coaches to the United States May 5-13. The Academy’s Chair of Sports Management Dr. Arthur Ogden led the tour group on a visit to Auburn University’s athletic facilities. 

Dr. Wirt Edwards, the Academy’s Chair of Sports Exercise Science, and Dr. Conrad Woolsey, the Academy’s Chair of Sports Studies, will be presenting at the 60th annual meeting and 4th World Congress on “Exercise is Medicine” of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) from May 28 to June 1 in Indianapolis.

Dr. Tim DeVinney, an Academy National Faculty member, is teaching Sports Facilities and Event Management at the International Sports Academy in Singapore. He also plans to teach Leadership Principles in Sports, following the facilities course.

Robin Causey, the Academy’s Financial Aid Counselor, recently graduated from the University of South Alabama, receiving a Master of Business Administration.


International Beach Handball (IBH) Master course scheduled May 19-22 at the Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E. Second St., in Reno, Nev. More information regarding Beach Handball can be found here.

International Symposium on Higher Education Institution Leaders May 20-23 at the Athens Institution for Education and Research in Greece.

American College of Sports Medicine 60th annual meeting and 4th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine May 28-June 1 at Indianapolis, Ind.

3rd International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development June 5-6 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

NACDA and Affiliates Convention Week this year June 10-15, at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Professional Golfers Adam Scott and Inbee Park Voted Athletes of the Month

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Professional golfers Adam Scott, who became the first Australian to win The Masters, and South Korean Inbee Park, who became the No. 1 ranked women’s player after her Kraft Nabisco Championship title, were chosen as the United States Sports Academy’s April Athletes of the Month in worldwide online voting.

Adam Scott

Scott won The Masters with the two biggest putts of his career, holing a 20-footer for birdie on the 18th hole of regulation that put him into a playoff with Angel Cabrera. He then won his first major championship in Augusta, Ga., with a 12-footer for birdie on the second extra hole. Scott had a final round 3-under 69, and 9-under 279 total for the major. Scott’s victory moved him to No. 3 in the world golf ranking.

Meanwhile, Park took over the top spot in the women’s golf rankings, after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her second major title and second victory of the year. Park, a 24-year-old South Korean, also won the LPGA Thailand in February. Park won a four-stroke victory in the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club, shooting a final-round 69 for a four-day total of 15-under-par 273.

The public is invited to participate in the worldwide Athlete of the Month nomination and ballot voting processes. Visit the Academy website at www.ussa.edu to submit your nominations each month, and then return to the website during the first two weeks of each month to vote for the male and female Athletes of the Month. The votes along with an Academy committee choose the winners who become candidates for the Athlete of the Year. The monthly and yearly winners are announced on the Academy’s website and in the sports university’s online edition of The Sport Update.

Finishing second in the men’s category was American basketball player Carmelo Anthony, who has led the New York Knicks to its best season in 16 years and the playoffs, while winning the first scoring title of his 10-year NBA career. He scored an average of 28.7 points per game, edging Kevin Durant, the reigning three-time champion.

Inbee Park

The runner-up to Park on the women’s ballot was American Queen Harrison, who upstaged all the other hyped 100-meter hurdlers at the Drake Relays. Harrison unexpectedly beat Des Moines, Iowa, hometown star Lolo Jones and 2012 London Olympic Games medalists Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells. Harrison ran a world-leading time of 12.71 seconds in the marquee event. Harper and Wells finished second and third and Jones ended up fourth.

Third place winners for April were Novak Djokovic, the No. 1-ranked Serbian tennis player who claimed his first Rolex Masters title in Monte Carlo; and Maria Sharapova, the No. 2-ranked Russian who beat China’s Li Na 6-4, 6-3 to successfully defend her WTA Porsche Grand Prix title.

Scott and Park are now eligible for the Academy’s male and female 2013 Athlete of the Year Award. For the 29th consecutive year, the Academy will oversee the worldwide online voting that will take place in December. This prestigious award is currently done in conjunction with NBC Sports.

In 2012, the male Athlete of the Year was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who became the first man ever to win both the 100- and 200-meter races in successive Olympics. The female Athlete of the Year was American tennis player Serena Williams, who became the singles champion at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympics. Both Olympians dominated 2012’s online ballot in December, which drew tens of thousands of votes a day from across the world.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Larsen to Create Seventh Sculpture for Academy’s Sport Sculpture Park

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The United States Sports Academy is adding a seventh sculpture by Bruce Larsen, the United States Sports Academy’s 2009 Sport Artist of the Year, to its Sports Sculpture Park on its Daphne, Ala., campus.

Plans call for Larsen to create a cyclist who is racing in a triathlon, which also includes swimming and running legs. Larsen says the new sculpture will move, appearing as if the cyclist is pedaling. Because it will be the first sculpture to move, it will include a small motor.

"Borzov the Sprinter" by Bruce Larsen, the Academy's 2009 Sport Artist of the Year

Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich is financing the project personally for the American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA), which he founded in 1984 and today arguably holds the largest sport art collection in the world.

“I look forward to Bruce creating another one of his unique sculptures,” Rosandich says.

Dr. Rosandich says he would like to tie the unveiling of the new sculpture to an event, which may include a triathlon.

Larsen says he’s excited to start the project and has begun doing sketches of the cyclist that he says, like his other sculptures, will be 200 to 300 percent larger than life in size. The found object artist from Fairhope, Ala., is known for recycling scrap metal, motor parts and an odd assortment of other junk.

“I like that Dr. Rosandich has trusted me enough to give me total artistic license on all the sculptures at the Academy,” Larsen says. “I am toying with the possibility of making this piece kinetic which would add a unique element to the park.”

Already in the Sport Sculpture Park are other pieces Larsen fashioned from scrap metal, hubcaps, tractor gears, hydraulic cylinders and an assortment of other junk, including “Borzov the Sprinter,” “Arnold the Weightlifter,” “Jordan the Basketball Player,” “Nastia the Gymnast,” and the “Iron Bowl Monument.”

Last year, Larsen did the sculpture, “Mr. Baseball,” to mark the 40th anniversary celebration of the Academy, which is the largest graduate school of sport education in the world. It was placed by Larsen in a classic pose of a home run slugger from a bygone era, stands nearly 7-feet tall and weighs more than 500 pounds.

The sculptures can be viewed along with other works of art in the Academy’s sport art museum. ASAMA is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.


Academy Introduces New Proctor Solution

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Beginning with the Summer 2013 semester scheduled to begin June 1, Academy students will be able to use ProctorU for taking course exams.

The Academy’s regional accrediting agency, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), has mandated that students who take online tests must undergo appropriate identification and supervision. 

ProctorU meets our online students’ demand to use a reliable and a convenient alternative testing solution. ProctorU allows students to take their tests in the comfort of their own homes and at their own computers without incurring the costs of paying for a human proctor.

Students are required to schedule course examinations three days in advance when using ProctorU. These general usage costs are covered by tuition. However, students can choose the convenience scheduling option for a minimal additional charge that they must pay. 

More information regarding ProctorU will be provided to you in the upcoming student catalog, including recommended computer and software requirements.

Students do have the option to keep using Software Secure’s Remote Proctor Device, which will be phased out Dec. 31.

Academy to Enhance Online Courses with New Canvas Learning Management System

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One of the founding concepts of the United States Sports Academy in 1972 was that it would be a “university without walls.”

Today, those walls and other barriers to delivering a high quality, dynamic learning environment continue to disappear.

The latest improvement: Academy students will be able to take online courses in Canvas beginning Sept. 1. This computer platform, commonly referred to as a Learning Management System (LMS), is replacing Moodle, the platform used by the Academy for the past few years.

More than 300 colleges use the Canvas online educational platform.

Thanks to students’ feedback and the commitment of the university’s faculty and staff to deliver the best sports education in the world, the new online education platform was recently chosen from among three other finalists that included Blackboard, Campus Cruiser and Adrenna Academic.

Dr. Stephen Butler, who led the Academy’s team that chose Canvas after a four-month review, says everyone should be excited about the transition from Moodle to Canvas.

“It’s like a one-on-one basketball game between Michael Jordan [Canvas] in his prime and an average high school player [Moodle],” says Butler, Dean of Instructional Design and Technology. “With Canvas, we want our students and faculty to start thinking that anything is possible.”

How does Canvas benefit students, faculty and the university? Among the biggest enhancements are:

• Students can access their sports courses on any computer device, including smartphones or tablets through Mobile Apps. Through the Apps, students can view grades, check course progress, participate in discussions and post and receive text, audio or video messages.
• Students can choose how to receive notifications or messages from faculty, other students and the school, such as through texts, Facebook, Twitter or emails.
• Canvas’ SpeedGrader allows students to receive better and quicker feedback on assignments from faculty because there are more tools and the system is integrated with the rubrics. All this is done without downloading or uploading files.
• Students will never have to worry about Canvas shutting down Academy courses for maintenance or upgrades because the company hosts the system.
• Canvas employs a modern, intuitive design that is easy to navigate and use for the Academy’s students, faculty and course developers.

“At the Academy, we are always looking for ways to improve our educational programs for our students,” says Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the Academy’s President and CEO. “Students are our No. 1 priority. We’ve been an innovator and leader in sport education for more than 40 years, and Canvas allows us to continue that tradition.”

In the fall, the Academy embarked on a journey to find a better LMS for its students. The selection committee included Butler; Matthew Ellis, Coordinator of Student Information Systems; Joshua Walker, Web Master; and Katie McCleary, Interaction Information Designer. The group attended conference calls and webinars with each of the potential providers and then narrowed the search to the final two—Canvas and Campus Cruiser.

Both high-tech companies traveled to the Academy to show off their systems and to give the Academy the opportunity to see how their technology would interact with the university’s educational programs.

Canvas, a rapidly growing startup begun in 2008, boasts an industry-pushing platform that now counts 300-plus colleges, universities and school districts as users. The Utah-based company employs more than 200 people.

Canvas CEO Josh Coates calls what the company does “revolutionary.” The company highlights several higher education successes, including:

• At Pasadena City College, a steering committee of faculty, students and staff gave Canvas an overall 9.0 ranking, compared to 7.4 for Moodle and 6.3 for Blackboard.
• At Bowling Green State University, the university conducted a pilot using Canvas that involved 94 faculty teaching 140 classes to 3,400 students. About 75 percent of faculty and students said they wanted to continue using the Canvas application, so Bowling Green replaced Blackboard and Epsilen.
• At Lower Columbia College, more than 1,000 faculty, students and staff judged Canvas on 15 essential and 11 important criteria, including the grade book, calendar, integration with social media, mobility, usability, communications and more. The responses were 99 percent positive.

“I’ve had teary-eyed hugs from people who use Canvas,” Coates says. “That kind of weirded me out the first time it happened, but the fifth time it happened, I’m like, ‘Oh it’s cool. It makes a huge difference in the teachers’ lives and their students’ lives.’ And that matters. They get passionate about it, so I think that’s awesome.”

From the start, the Academy has used distance learning. In the beginning, the program included correspondence study courses that eventually evolved to primarily a web-based delivery in January 2001. A recent national survey pointed out what Academy leaders have long known: 77 percent of chief academic officers rate online education as the same or superior to face-to-face instruction.

Today, the Academy, which is the largest graduate school of sport education in the world, is 100 percent online 24/7/365. Known as “America’s Sports University,” it provides even more flexibility to students by offering rolling enrollment that allows students to start their courses anytime from anywhere.

The Academy’s online courses are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and approved by the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM). They have also earned recognition from the U.S. Department of Education Distance Learning Demonstration Project, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

Butler points out that the Academy will offer a tutorial and training on Canvas for faculty and students. Moodle will remain running until the last student finishes his or her course in that platform. However, all students who register for courses after Sept. 1 will use the new Canvas platform.

“I believe our faculty and students will be as excited as we are once they start using Canvas,” Butler says. “It was pretty obvious that Canvas was the best choice.”

Academy Hosts Shanghai Swimming Coaches During Week-Long Training

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A group of about two dozen swimming coaches from Shanghai, China are in the United States for sports training from May 5-13.

Hosted by the United States Sports Academy, the Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sports Study Tour is receiving both classroom instruction and hands-on learning.

Besides seminars led by Academy faculty, the Shanghai coaches, for example, spent one day with college swimming powerhouse Auburn University. Auburn’s swimming and diving teams, now coached by Brett Hawke, have won eight men’s national championships and five women’s titles.

The Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sport Study Tour began with seminars led by Academy faculty.

The Shanghai Swim Team has been highly successful, too, winning China’s top team award the past five years and producing two medalists at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

While at Auburn, the Shanghai group toured the  athletics facilities, watched the afternoon practice session and went through a clinic led by Hawke. He emphasized the keys to selecting strong athletes, talked about characteristics of a champion and covered training for sprint events, a specialty of the Auburn program.

“It is very flattering for Auburn to be world renowned,” Hawke said. “This group has spent a lot of money to send over their coaches to learn ways to improve their program in Shanghai.”

The Sports Study Tour is led by Marlin Lee, who earned his master’s in Sports Management and Sports Coaching from the Academy in 1994. Lee runs his own sports consulting company, American Sports & Media Management, which is based in Hayward, Calif.

The Shanghai swimming coaches, hosted by the Academy, posed May 8 during their tour and training at Auburn University with the Tiger's Tyler McGill, an Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100-meter medley relay in the 2012 London Olympics.

Much of his work involves helping arrange programs to train Shanghai players, coaches and administrators in the United States. In recent years, Lee, an Olympic team handball player and coach, has brought baseball, softball, soccer, men’s basketball and other sports groups to train here, including a track and field group that worked recently with Texas A&M University.

“Mr. Lee has done a lot of good work in sports for China,” said Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the Academy’s president and CEO. “Working with him, we have helped to develop a great program that includes training with one of the best swimming teams in the United States at Auburn.”

In China, Lee explained, each of the 34 province-level divisions are responsible for running independent sports programs. Shanghai’s is ranked third in the country. He said Chinese sports professionals have a strong desire to learn more from the West to enhance their own sports programs.

“Shanghai sports doesn’t have too much of an advantage over the other provinces in facilities and management,” Lee said. “They feel the way to gain an advantage is to improve their coaching performance. They think if they can do this, they can turn out excellent athletes.”

The Shanghai Swimming Coaches Sport Study Tour’s full schedule includes attending seminars on sports psychology and sports medicine, as well as going to swim practices both at the youth and collegiate level to learn more about swimming techniques and training methods. Besides the Academy and Auburn, they also worked with both Bishop State Community College and TNT Swimming, an elite youth swimming team based in Daphne, Ala.

Liu Li Ping said she and other Shanghai members learned a lot of useful information that they can use to be better coaches and to help their athletes improve. The group leader, Ping is the Director of Foreign Affairs of the Shanghai Sports Administration and won a bronze medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics in women’s Team Handball.
“This helped our coaches understand theory about swimming, training methods, planning and the psychology of athletes,” Ping said. “The instruction was very detailed and helpful.”

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit the Academy’s website www.ussa.edu.

The Academy is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization able to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Your donation today is deeply appreciated. Donate Today
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