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Transylvania professor shares how D3 athletics helped shape his future

During D3 Week 2019, talks with multiple staff and faculty members of Transylvania who spent their college years as NCAA Division III student-athletes. Today, we profile Transylvania Associate Professor of Mathematics, Ryan Stuffelbeam, who played football for Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. How did being a student-athlete during your collegiate days help shape you as a person?

Ryan Stuffelbeam: “I have always been a competitive person and the ability to play football and baseball in college and have an outlet for that competitive fire helped me through my undergraduate days. Also, the jampacked daily schedule of an athlete benefited me as a student because it forced me to plan my time carefully and not procrastinate!”

TS: Why do you believe Division III athletics are an important part of the college experience?

RS: “For students wanting to continue their athletic endeavors into their undergraduate experience, Division III athletics allow student-athletes the opportunity to maintain their competitive spirit, provide a focus for their time out of the classroom and library, and an extra avenue for self-improvement.”

TS: In your view, what’s special about the student-athlete experience here at Transylvania?

RS: “Comparing my experience at another institution to the experience of our current student-athletes at Transylvania, I find that Transylvania’s location gives our student-athletes a richer experience over their four years.”

TS: What was your greatest moment as a student-athlete?

RS: “My last football game at Knox – the 110th Bronze Turkey game versus our rivals Monmouth College. I took the GRE exam that morning, ran across campus to change into uniform, and arrived just in time to lead the squad into the Knox Bowl as one of the team’s four captains. We won the game – our third straight win in the series – to even the record between the two teams at 50-50-10.”

TS: Who are some role models from your college athletic days?

RS: “Harley Knosher was the athletics director during my time at Knox College and is one of the most remarkable people I have had the privilege of knowing. He always had time for anyone and anything, would help a student/coach/Knox community member at the drop of a hat, and always stood up for what he believed. Moreover, he had a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh. Harley had positive impacts upon Knox students for multiple decades and he made our college experience richer.”

TS: What is one of the most important values you took away from your time as a college athlete?

RS: “Learning to work and strive for a common goal with a team of your peers is a life lesson that never gets old.”