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28 August 2014

Wellness Center executive director lands in Miami

Photo Courtesy everitas

Photo Courtesy everitas

The first order of business for the Wellness Center’s new director, Scott Levin, is to become familiar with the University of Miami’s culture.

“I’m still learning how to do the U,” said Levin, who previously served as the Director of Recreational Services in Georgia State University starting in 2000. There, he opened a $33 million Student Recreation Center.

During his time at Georgia State, Levin received the George M. Sparks Award, an annual award that recognizes one student, faculty, and staff member from the university who exemplifies a willingness to go the extra mile with good humor and perseverance.

Prior to his position at George State, he worked at Bowling Green State University in Ohio for 15 years in various recreation positions.

Now, Levin has come down to bring his perseverance to UM. Though he’s new to the school, Levin is no stranger to the area.

“As a kid, my parents used to go to Miami Beach and vacation,” he said. “Now I just feel like one of the freshmen students during orientation.”

Besides having traveled to Miami, Georgia and Ohio, Levin was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and also lived in Los Angeles when he was seven years old. 

Later, he moved to Illinois to complete his undergraduate career at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

In college, Levin discovered his passion for fitness and sports, especially golf, running marathons, cycling and skiing.

“About mid-way through my undergrad experience, they built a new recreation center and I spent a lot of time there,”  Levin said. “After college, I worked in unrelated areas of sale and then decided to go back to grad school for sports administration.”

Levin is looking forward to the opportunity to expand his experience working at a university, as this is his third collegiate position.

“My goal initially is to get to know the staff, understand how the U operates and some of the culture and the traditions, which is very strong,” Levin said. “I don’t see myself making any major changes yet, but just offer experience and advice.”

Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs, believes Levin will bring outstanding leadership in campus recreation and wellness to Miami.

“Scott is both a collaborative and innovative leader,” she said. “I am confident that his expertise and transformative ideas will enhance the wellness experience for all at the University of Miami.”

Levin acknowledges that “there is no excuse not to use [the Wellness Center]” because students pay “a fee, and we’re here for you to use it.”

Students who work at the Wellness Center sense that Levin will continue the positive legacy of the Wellness Center.

“I think he’s going to succeed just as Norm Parsons did,” said Ainara Gastaminsa, a sophomore who works the front desk at the Wellness Center. “He has great experience, and I’m excited to see what he brings to the table.”

Junior Tony Canero, an office supervisor, knew Levin was what the university was looking for in an executive director the first time they were introduced.

“He was friendly, approachable and professional,” Canero said. “What I loved most about him was his determination at his past institutions and his calm personality.”

With his past experience, Levin hopes to continue making the Wellness Center as popular as it is and promoting its facilities to members of UM’s community.