Utica University to Award Honorary Degree to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey
Influential sports leader and innovator to receive Doctor of Humane Letters from the institution where he began his impressive college athletics career
Utica University will award an honorary degree to Southeastern Conference (SEC) commissioner Greg Sankey at its 2023 undergraduate Commencement ceremony. The honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree will be conferred upon Sankey, who will address the graduating class, on Thursday evening, May 11 during the University’s 74th Commencement exercises. The ceremony will be held at the Adirondack Bank Center, beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Sankey is a widely recognized leader on the national landscape for intercollegiate athletics. He was named as the SEC’s eighth commissioner in 2015, after joining the conference as associate commissioner in 2002. He was then promoted to Executive Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer in 2012.
The SEC is commonly regarded as the most successful college athletic conference in the nation, a position cemented during Sankey’s time as commissioner. Under his leadership, SEC member institutions have won 44 national championships, including six of the past eight College Football Playoff National Championships.
Sankey has been an outspoken advocate for student-athletes, creating a framework to provide young people in the Conference with challenging leadership opportunities and expanded resources to succeed at the highest levels of academic and competitive success. His leadership has grown and strengthened the SEC’s exposure, reputation, and financial profile, reaffirming the conference’s preeminence on and off the field. He helped facilitate the SEC’s expansion from 12 to its current 14 members with the additions of Texas A&M University and the University of Missouri in 2012, and as commissioner in July 2021, he announced the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas will join the conference as its 15th and 16th members, a membership expansion that will go into effect on July 1, 2024.
Hailed as an earnest innovator who simultaneously embraces the values and traditions of college sports, Sankey is a foremost voice on navigating the need for change in college sports. In 2021, he was named co-chair of the NCAA Division I Transformation Committee, the group appointed to lead efforts to reimagine the future of college sports.
Sankey’s career began at Utica, where he served as director of intramural sports. He later oversaw athletic compliance at Northwestern State University and for the Southland Conference, before becoming commissioner of the Southland Conference in 1996.
For more information on Utica University’s Commencement ceremonies, visit utica.edu/commencement.