Indiana college creates Motorsports curriculum
by MICHAEL GORMLEY
TIMES STAFF REPORT
INDIANAPOLIS - Marian College president Daniel J. Elsener, along with leaders at motorsports organizations from around Indiana, announced today the launch of The Business of Motorsports curriculum. A first in the Midwest and one of only two in the country, the motorsports management program will prepare students to address the management and marketing needs of the fast-paced racing industry.
"In central Indiana alone, the motorsports industry is made up of nearly 10,000 workers in over 400 businesses. That totals some $425 million in annual wages," said Matt Steward, director of motorsports development at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). "There is a real need for strengthening Indiana's motorsports workforce so we can continue our leading role in the highly competitive world of motorsports."
The Business of Motorsports program at Marian College supports Governor Mitch Daniels' initiative to expand the racing industry in the state.
"We are fortunate to have many leaders from the motorsports industry as our partners in this program," said president Elsener. "Governor Daniels has a great vision for this state that includes expansion of this important industry and Marian College is prepared to help students and the industry achieve success."
Located within two miles of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Marian College has a rich history in motorsports. The 120-acre campus is built on the former estates of James Allison, Carl Fisher and Frank Wheeler?three of the four founders of IMS and the Indianapolis 500. Jack Snyder, former IMS and Indy Racing League legal counsel, and Mike Hudson, retired vice chairman of Rolls-Royce North America and advisor to John Menard (founder and owner of Menards home improvement chain, owner of an racing engine shop in England, and owner of the 1997 and 1999 IRL league championship teams), are Marian College trustees.
Additionally, the newly formed Indiana Motorsports Association makes its home on the Marian College campus.
"The Business of Motorsports program at Marian College will fill a great need and help our member companies by providing a skilled and educated workforce that can help us grow and expand," said Tom Weisenbach, executive director of the Indiana Motorsports Association.
Marian's motorsports management program is distinctive in that it focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to effectively run a business in the racing industry. Marian has offered a general sport management degree for more than 20 years; the concentration in motorsports will strengthen the overall program, according to Dr. Leigh Ann Danzey-Bussell, assistant professor of sport studies at the college and director of the motorsports program. One of the most important benefits of the Marian College program is an extremely robust internship program?as many as 40 hours of hands-on work experience and up to 12 college credits with companies like USAC, Just Marketing, Indiana Motorsports Association, the Lyn St. James Foundation, and others.
Ball Brothers Venture Fund awarded a grant to Marian College and the motorsports management program to provide scholarship funds that would attract interested and qualified students. The award criteria sought to "provide seed money for creative start-up programs."
About the program
The Business of Motorsports is an 18 credit hour curriculum of study developed by Dr. Danzey-Bussell in conjunction with recognized leaders in the motorsports industry.
n Joie Chitwood, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
n Rollie Helmling, president of the United States Auto Club (USAC)
n Indianapolis Raceway Park
n Indiana Motorsports Association
n Just Marketing
n Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana Economic Development Corporation
n Lyn St. James Foundation
Two courses have been offered since fall 2004, with the additional four classes to be offered for the first time in fall 2006. Students will learn from Marian College faculty as well as professionals in the industry. Most notably, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood will teach the survey course.
The motorsports program is rooted in management theory and supplemented with practical application. Graduates will be required to complete a semester-long internship with a motorsports organization.
Marian College has established internship commitments from USAC, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indiana Motorsports Association, Just Marketing, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Lyn St. James Foundation, 500 Festival Associates, and the Ball Brothers Foundation.
Within the established Department of Sports Studies, sports management students can declare a concentration in motorsports management. Marian College students pursing other degrees can select a motorsports minor.
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