LANCASTER, Pa. -- Lauren Packer Webster has been appointed the new director of athletics & recreation of Franklin & Marshall College, President Barbara K. Altmann announced. Packer Webster, who was selected out of a national pool of highly qualified candidates, will assume her role Aug. 3.
"The strong pool of applicants for our position was proof that the outside world recognizes how important athletics is to F&M and how well we run our programs," Altmann said. "Lauren immediately impressed me with her deep and broad experience in all aspects of college sports, including some of the toughest challenges we face. In her interview, she talked about creating 'a culture focused on removing obstacles' for the whole department. And she was clear about her commitment to developing the student in 'student-athlete.'"
Packer Webster, who takes over the athletics leadership role following the retirement of Patricia S.W. Epps, will be responsible for the management and development of F&M's 27 intercollegiate programs, club sports, intramurals, fitness programs and all athletic facilities.
"I am very excited to welcome Lauren to the F&M community," said Vice President & Dean of Student Affairs Margaret Hazlett. "She stood out in our candidate pool due to her commitment and passion for wellness for all students, sense of competitiveness for our varsity and club programs and her collaborative leadership style in working in partnership with our coaching and administrative staff to strengthen and enhance all aspects of the F&M athletic department."
Packer Webster brings a wide range of experiences in all aspects of athletic administration. She spent the previous 13 years at Mercyhurst University in multiple roles. Beginning in 2008, Packer Webster served as the director of athletic communications, before being promoted to assistant athletic director in 2011 and associate athletic director in 2014. She also has served as Mercyhurst's senior woman administrator since 2014.
"I am deeply honored to join Franklin & Marshall as the director of athletics and recreation," said Packer Webster. "The combination of the College's upward momentum led by President Altmann, the support for comprehensive excellence from Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Margaret Hazlett and the outstanding engagement of the entire Diplomat community make this a special opportunity."
At Mercyhurst, a multidivisional program, she managed all aspects of 22 Division II sports and administration of the Division I men's and women's ice hockey programs. The Lakers saw unparalleled success under her leadership with seven straight top-50 finishes in the Learfield Directors' Cup, including back-to-back years in the top-20 and their highest rankings in the school's history. Mercyhurst won national championships in wrestling, women's rowing and men's lacrosse along with top-10 national finishes in numerous sports and twice competed in the world-renowned Henley Royal Regatta.
She served as Mercyhurst's compliance director, along with authorization and oversight of the department's $14 million budget. She was responsible for the preparation of required federal, NCAA and institutional reporting and management of student enrollment. She also authored a five-year NCAA grant for a student-athlete wellness director position, and served as a member of the institution's Strategic Plan Steering Committee.
In addition to her vast experience at Mercyhurst, Packer Webster served at the national level on various committees and organizations. She was a member of the NCAA Division II Wrestling Committee and the Collegiate Water Polo Association Governing Council. She also has served as a NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship Media Coordinator and the ECAC-SIDA New Media Coordinator.
"I am committed to the transformational power of athletics, helping students reach beyond what they dream is possible in the classroom, competition and life," said Packer Webster. "I cannot wait to join the dedicated and collaborative group of coaches, faculty and staff to build upon F&M's rich history of tradition and success."
Packer Webster worked with key constituent groups such as parents, alumni, community and industry leaders to support the University mission and Advancement efforts. She managed sport-specific fundraising initiatives and worked with the Advancement Office to identify and cultivate donors for the Laker for Life campaign. Packer Webster, who will similarly work on athletic fundraising and alumni relations at F&M, also assisted with fundraising for scholarships through her volunteer role as treasurer of the Lake Erie chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association.
She served as the department liaison for multiple campus departments and offices, including financial aid, admissions, academic affairs, faculty senate, business office and human resources. Packer Webster created the Women in Sports networking group for students and alumnae at Mercyhurst and helped run the annual Girls and Women in Sport Day celebration.
Before her time at Mercyhurst, Packer Webster served as the director of athletic communications and sports marketing at Allegheny College and the director of media relations for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
She earned her master's degree in communication studies from Edinboro University in 2006 and a bachelor's degree in communications and media studies from Penn State in 2004. She returned to Edinboro in 2008-09 as an adjunct professor for the Communications Department as a lecturer for Introduction to Public Relations and Relations Program Design.