The Denver Broncos have named United States Sports Academy 2011 Alumna of the Year Dr. China Jude as their new Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – a newly created role for one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.
In the role Jude – who holds an Academy Master of Sports Science degree in sports management – will work closely with football, business and community leadership on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. She will also work directly with the human resources and community development departments, focusing on recruitment, hiring processes, overall workplace environment and external outreach.
In addition to leading the organization’s overall DEI strategy and representing the team as an external ambassador on social justice initiatives, Jude will guide the team’s internal DEI committee as it hosts regular organization-wide programming. She will report directly to Brittany Bowlen, who has been named Senior Vice President of Strategy.
“I am extremely grateful to Joe Ellis, George Paton and the rest of the Broncos leadership team for selecting me for this opportunity,” Jude said. “One of the attractive things about this position is the organization-wide investment in making a positive commitment to DEI. I’m ready to work closely with Brittany and roll up my sleeves to share ideas of how we can continue to create meaningful change within the organization and community.”
Jude previously worked as the senior associate athletics director for administration and the senior woman administrator at the University of Wyoming. She credits the Academy for inspiring her to be the best she can be in the sports management and administration field.
“I started the Academy as someone who worked in sports, but left the Academy as a sports professional,” Jude said. “My time learning at the Academy gave me the practical experience I needed to work in the field, and it gave me the knowledge to be able to articulate my views, core values and priorities.
“The Academy showed me a global perspective of sports and taught me how to look at the issues with a wider lens. If anyone ever asks me about graduate schools, I always recommend the Academy. It transformed my life for the better and I couldn’t be more proud to be an Academy graduate.”
Jude thanked the late Academy Founding President Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich and current President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich for inspiring her to excel in the classroom and in her career.
“To this day, the Academy has always given me – and all of its students – extra attention,” Jude said. “When I was there, I felt like I was the only student there because the Rosandich family really made me feel like they cared about my performance.
“I started at the Academy in 1994 at age 27 and I knew I wanted to work in sports but I have to admit I was nervous, because I didn’t know if my undergraduate work would be good enough to be accepted into a prestigious master’s program like the Academy’s,” Jude said.
“But the Academy accepted me because Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich believed in me and what I could become. That acceptance inspired me to work harder than I ever had before to make sure I was successful, to prove the Academy was right to believe in me.”
Jude holds more than 23 years of experience working in collegiate athletics administration and coaching. She was also named to the 10th annual Sports Business Journal Game Changers: Women in Sports Business Class for 2020.
She also boasts and extensive background in diversity and inclusion efforts, having created at Wyoming strategies on addressing sexual assault/violence. She also served as Chair of the University Wide Black 14 Commemoration Week and coordinated the celebration of women who competed prior to Title IX. She also strengthened Wyoming’s diversity and inclusion recruitment and professional development programming, leading to an 8 percent increase in ethnic minority and female staffers in under-represented areas.
In addition, Jude served on the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Committee and is the President of the Minority Opportunities Athletics Association (MOAA). She is also the former Chair of the NCAA Minority Opportunities Interest Committee (MOIC) and founder of the Women of Color (WoC) Athletics Director Network.
She was named the Academy’s 2011 Alumna of the Year for her work as the assistant vice president of athletics and athletics director at Queens College in New York City, where she oversaw the athletics department’s 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports for more than six years.
Prior to her work at Queens College, Jude worked as the athletic director and department chair at Division II Cheyney University in Pennsylvania for four years. She is also a former college head volleyball coach at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the University of the District of Columbia.
In 2015, Jude was named the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) Division II Administrator of the Year. She is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Executive Committee.
A native of Waukegan, Ill., Jude earned her Doctor of Education degree in athletic administration from Northcentral University in 2017. She holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Alabama State University, where she also played volleyball.
“I was told early on that if I wanted to be a successful administrator, it would help me to be a successful coach first,” Jude said. “When you are a good coach, you positively impact the lives of the players on your team. You have the opportunity to help them become the best players and people they can be. I wanted to do that, but with a larger population, and administration allows me to do that.”