April 10, 2023

Rebecca Ripans '25 Rebecca Ripans ’25For students who want to continue playing the sport they love at the collegiate level and have an academically challenging college experience – Division III athletics is the place to be.

“Division III athletics provides a well-rounded collegiate experience that involves a balance of rigorous academics, competitive athletics and the opportunity to pursue the multitude of other co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities offered on campuses like Susquehanna,” said Athletics Director Sharief Hashim.

Approximately 30% of Susquehanna’s student population is a member of one of SU’s 23 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports teams. Division III offers a competitive athletics environment for student-athletes, without the obligations of an athletics scholarship. Additionally, Division III playing season and eligibility standards minimize conflicts between athletics and academics, allowing student-athletes to focus on their academic programs and their achievement of a degree.

“We have a mandate to put academics before athletics, so we do everything we can to give athletes the chance to become integral parts of their academic environment while still having the opportunity to continue their athletic careers,” Hashim said.

Rebecca Ripans ’25 is an early childhood education major, with a minor in English as a second language, who is also a goal-scoring forward on the River Hawks field hockey team.

“What made my decision easy to continue my athletic career at SU was the balance between academics, campus life and athletics,” Ripans said. “I am able to compete at a high level athletically while getting a great education and being active on campus with jobs and clubs.”

Ripans is also a member of the Student Government Association, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the executive board of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is a student ambassador for Admission.

Connor Aitken '25 Connor Aitken ’25Division III affords student-athletes like Ripans the opportunity to discover valuable lessons in teamwork, discipline, perseverance and leadership — lessons Ripans said she will carry with her long after she graduates from Susquehanna. “Being a student-athlete at SU has given me countless relationships and opportunities that will last a lifetime,” Ripans said. “It has allowed me to grow my leadership, teamwork, time management and advocacy skills, which I believe will help me be a more well-rounded individual in my future career.”

Connor Aitken ’25 is an accounting major with minors in finance and management. He is also a member of the River Hawks men’s lacrosse team. He said it was the Sigmund Weis School of Business that drew him to Susquehanna, as well as Coach Stewart Moan who gave Aitken the opportunity to continue playing a sport he loves.

“Susquehanna’s well-established and high-quality academics, plus the AACSB-accredited Sigmund Weis School of Business, helped make my decision a no brainer,” he said. “I also knew I wanted to continue my lacrosse career in college, and Susquehanna and Coach Moan gave me that opportunity.”

Like Ripans, Aitken believes the lessons he’s learning as a student-athlete will follow him long into his career.

“Being a student-athlete, has challenged me to learn how to balance my academics, team activities and student employment,” Aitken said. “Academics will always come first, and sometimes it can be tough juggle everything, but the skills I have gained and will continue to gain as a collegiate student-athlete, will help me succeed in my life postgraduation.”