Oct 11, 2022
Beyond being a full-time student and athlete, Griffin Witte is getting all he can out of his experience at St. Bonaventure University.
To keep up with the senior physical education
major and Division 1 student-athlete on the men’s swim and dive team, you will need to get up early and move fast. Witte, a native of Webster, New York, is out the door of his house long before the sun rises.
He logs at least one hour of either swimming or strength training and conditioning prior to leaving for Washington West Elementary School, where he serves as a student-teacher from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., five days a week. Following that, he practices with his teammates most days from 3 to 5 p.m.
When he’s not competing, training, studying or teaching, he serves as vice president of the Physical Activity Club (PAC) and as president of the newly-formed Bona Student-Athletes Fellowship and Wellness Club. He’s actively involved with Special Olympics and helps in the Hall of Fame Room in the Reilly Center during men’s basketball games. He also holds a strong commitment to eating right and sleeping well.
It’s an intense schedule, but Witte loves it. Being a D1 athlete is a family tradition. His stepfather, Ben Whipple, competed at Niagara as a swimmer in the late 1990s and coached him throughout his high school career. His father, Mark, played baseball at Duke in the mid-1980s, and his sister Dana is currently a swimmer at Colgate.
Witte focuses on his studies just as much as he does his sport. He has been named a 2022 physical education Departmental Major of the Year through the New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He is also a recipient of multiple scholarships, including the Provost Scholarship and Galasso Scholarship.
Volunteering with Sean McNamee, the most decorated coach in Bona’s history, has piqued his interest in working in sports administration following graduation.
“Griff struck an immediate chord with me when he volunteered to assist with game day operations in the Athletics Hall of Fame, our primary hospitality space for home men’s basketball games,” said McNamee, who serves as Bona’s associate athletic director for major gifts. “Griff openly stated that he wanted to squeeze as much out of his experience as he possibly could. I am very familiar with the grinding schedule he has to hold in being a full-time student paired with being a full-time athlete. He wanted everything he could get, which is a very positive characteristic for great things.”
Witte recently took a moment to answer a few questions about his time at St. Bonaventure.
What made St. Bonaventure University your college of choice?
The connection I felt here. During a recruitment visit, the athletes on the team showed me around. They were the best people I’d ever met. They are now role models in my life.
As an officer for the wellness group and PAC, what would you tell others about these groups?
The student-athlete wellness group is where athletes can advocate for their team and provide needed support. It’s a lot being an athlete in any sport. There is such a high expectation set. A weight is put on you. This group is a place to talk to other athletes, expand on common issues, and create a chance to support the student-athlete as a whole at the university.
The PAC is a great club that supports a variety of physical activity events and organizations on campus. Anyone can join and it helps support great causes.
What do you most appreciate about being a student here?
The best part about being a student at St. Bonaventure is the community that you are immersed in from day one. The community will endlessly support you in your academic career as well as endeavors beyond the years that you spend here.
What words or lessons have remained with you, making a difference in how you approach each day?
A professor once told me “you’ll blink and it will all be over.” This stuck with me because it’s true. Everything in the Bona world moves at unquantifiable speed, and before you know it you’ll be walking onto campus senior year, asking yourself, “Where did all the time go?”
Do you have a special Bona memory?
There is no one special moment, the whole experience is special — from waking up at 5:30 a.m., thinking how lucky I am to jump into a cold pool so early in the morning, to hanging out with my team at the end of a long day.
The university recently launched the campaign for A Bolder Bonaventure. How will gifts to this campaign help you as a student-athlete?
All athletes here feel the love and appreciation from the supporters and alumni who attend sporting events and make donations to a variety of programs. Personally being part of the St. Bonaventure athletics program allows me to see how special it is to be an athlete in collegiate sports and on top of that how lucky I am to have landed at this university.
As a student-athlete and sport enthusiast, I appreciate all of the support we are receiving from our supporters. It keeps the dreams and legacies of the athletics program here at Bonaventure alive.
When it comes down to the work that the athletes are putting in on the field, court, pool, and in the weight room, keeping up with nutrition is difficult. Funding for a nutrition bar or satellite food station for athletes to fuel up for training would do wonders, especially for those with busy schedules and no time to visit one of our dining options.
There are a variety of ways to keep athletes healthy and performing in practice and in competition, nutrition is just one of them.