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12

LYCOMING COLLEGE 2015 SPRING MAGAZINE

TACKLING AN

IMPORTANT

ISSUE

College football Hall of Famer

Don McPherson visits Lycoming

to promote awareness of sexual

discrimination and violence

n the mid-80s, when Don McPherson was playing his way to

a Hall of Fame college football career at Syracuse University,

something about the world of athletics didn’t sit right with

him.

“There was this notion that athletes were role models, that

they should be emulated for some reason,” McPherson told

Syracuse.com

in 2013. “I mean, that’s completely false. It was a myth

then and it’s a myth now.”

Instead of rebelling against the notion of athlete-as-role model

by shying away from the spotlight, however, McPherson decided

to use his time in the public eye for good. He became involved in a

program called Athletes Against Drunk Driving, beginning a life

of social change that would continue through his time playing for

the Philadelphia Eagles, the Houston Oilers and in the Canadian

Football League, and would eventually outlast his career on the field.

After he retired from professional football in 1994, McPherson

became the national director of athletes in service to America at

Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

It was during this tenure, that he shifted his focus from educating

audiences about the dangers of substance abuse and bullying, to

lecturing about violence against women, an issue that would become

central to the former quarterback’s efforts as an activist. According

to his bio, McPherson “emerged as a national leader and advocate for

the prevention of sexual and domestic violence.”

The All-American quarterback has gone on to conduct workshops

and to give lectures for more than 250 college campuses, community

organizations and national sports and violence-prevention

organizations. He visited Lycoming in October, speaking about the

prevention of sexual discrimination and violence to various classes

and groups on campus, including the Race, Class, Gender and

Sexuality sociology class, the student life staff, the Student Athlete

Advisory Board, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic

Council.

McPherson has worked

with the U.S. Department

of Education and Defense

on issues of sexual

violence in education and

the military and has won

numerous awards for his

service, including Lifetime

Television’s Champions

for Change award. He also

served as a college football

analyst for ESPN, BET

and NBC, has provided

commentary on national

news programs and has

appeared on the Oprah

Winfrey Show.

I

T H E CO L L E G E