*COMMERCE, Texas—*Graduates of the sport and recreation management program
at Texas A&M University-Commerce are finding success from coast to coast
according to Dr. Clay Bolton, assistant professor in the Department of
Health and Human Performance.
“We’ve been fortunate to have outstanding students in our undergraduate
sport and recreation management program,” said Bolton. “Dr. Samantha
Roberts and I are humbly blessed to serve students who want to learn and be
successful in the sport and recreation industry.”
Savannah Rutledge, a four-year starter for the Lions volleyball team and a
leader in the classroom, graduated from the program in May 2020. She’s now
pursuing her master’s degree while working as a graduate assistant in the
athletic department at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth,
“I’m grateful for the resources and opportunities provided by A&M-Commerce
which allow students to network throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area,”
Rutledge said. “The connections I made helped me land my internship with
‘Visit Frisco’ and my graduate assistant position at TCU.”
Nick Petitti, a member of the Lions football team and a campus leader with
the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, graduated with honors in August
2020. Petitti is now earning his master’s degree at the University of
Oregon in Eugene, Oregon while working as a graduate assistant with one of
the world’s top sport marketing professors, Dr. Bettina Cornwell.
“The Department of Health and Human Performance at A&M-Commerce gave me a
place to shine off of the football field,” Petitti said. “Dr. Bolton and
Dr. Roberts are, without a doubt, the reason I got into the graduate
program of my choice.”
Isiah Henry also graduated from the program in August after rising to serve
as a supervisor for Campus Recreation at A&M-Commerce following several
years in the department. He recently became a facilities and operations
graduate assistant for campus recreation at Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville while pursuing his master’s degree in sport and exercise
“My time in the program was fantastic. I met people who will forever be
family and I had the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research
and case study competitions,” Henry said. “I will always be grateful for
the time that so many people invested in me during my time at A&M-Commerce.”
Rutledge, Petitti and Henry were members of the A&M-Commerce case study
competition team. They presented their undergraduate research at the
Applied Sport Management Association Conference at Baylor University in
Waco, Texas in February 2020.
Zenobia Winbush, a 2016 graduate of the program and former letter winner
for the women’s basketball team, credits the sport and recreation
management program for helping find her calling.
“I met professors who understood the challenges of being a student-athlete,
including Dr. Bolton,” Winbush said.
As a requirement of the program, Winbush interned for the Texas Revolution,
a professional indoor football team. She stayed with the team after
graduating from A&M-Commerce and eventually found her niche in graphic
design. She is now a graphic designer for the National Football League at
their headquarters in New York, New York. “My time at A&M-Commerce was a
life-changing experience for me,” Winbush said.
Bolton said he and Roberts are proud of their former students’ success, as
well as many other alumni from the program.
“Savannah, Isiah, Nick and Zenobia worked hard in the classroom, utilized
their networking skills and took advantage of every experiential
opportunity they had,” Bolton said. “They are shining examples and role
models for future students in the program.”
Dr. Kimberly McLeod, dean of the College of Education and Human Services at
A&M-Commerce couldn’t agree more with Bolton’s assessment.
“It’s exciting to see what a strong academic foundation at A&M-Commerce can
do to support students’ future growth,” McLeod said. “I hope these alumni
provide inspiration to current and future students, illustrating that
dreams really do become reality. Go Lions!”