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St. Bonaventure’s Dr. Claire Watson honored at NCAA FARA Awards Banquet

Nov 15, 2022

St. Bonaventure University Faculty Athletic Representative Dr. Claire Watson was recently honored as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives Association (FARA) Division I Newcomer of the Year.

Claire Watson award The Newcomer of the Year is defined as someone who has served their institution as faculty athletic representative (FAR) for less than five years. Watson took the role of FAR at St. Bonaventure in fall 2019.

“Dr. Watson became the FAR at St. Bonaventure right before the pandemic and ultimately served two years on the Atlantic 10’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee and was quite effective and contributed a great deal of time assisting with our protocols during the two-year window we had to manage competition under the veil of the pandemic,” said Jill Redmond, A-10 executive senior associate commissioner.

Echoing that enthusiasm for Watson is St. Bonaventure Director of Athletics Joe Manhertz. “We’re so proud to work with Claire,” he said. “She is the epitome of what it takes to support student-athletes in their academic and athletic endeavors. We’re glad she is on our team.”

The FAR is a member of the faculty at an NCAA member institution. Watson has been designated by St. Bonaventure to serve as a liaison between the institution and the athletics department, and also as a representative of the institution in conference and NCAA affairs. The role of the representative is to ensure that the academic institution establishes and maintains the appropriate balance between academics and intercollegiate athletics.

“What an incredible surprise to be acknowledged for my role as a FAR. It is an honor to have this opportunity to work with our student-athletes, separately than the professor-student relationship in the classroom,” Watson said.

As part of a student’s support system, Watson said faculty athletic representatives are fortunate to see students’ success in athletics and academics.

“We are also there for the challenges. To collaborate during the pandemic with immunology experts, sports medicine physicians, psychologists and athletic directors on best practices for physical and mental health was an incredible learning and leading opportunity. I am humbled, honored and grateful to be acknowledged for this award,” she added.

Watson is the program director for the public health and health science majors at St. Bonaventure. She was the executive director for the Allied Health Initiative that established the School of Health Professions in 2016. Watson has chaired multiple honors students’ projects, undergraduate research studies and has had the privilege to work with, and advise, hundreds of student-athletes during her tenure.

In addition to her work at SBU, Watson is a clinical health director for Special Olympics New York (SONY). Clinical health directors coordinate and work alongside health professionals and students to provide health screenings and health promotion to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities during SO athletic events. SONY recently initiated a Health Advisory Board, on which Watson was asked to be an inaugural member. The board will work on health initiatives that reduce the health disparities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Watson joined the St. Bonaventure faculty in 2013. She holds a Ph.D. in public health from Walden University, master’s degrees in public health (Walden University) and exercise science (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania), and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

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About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.