Lake Forest College President Stephen D. Schutt announced Thursday the promotion of Jackie Slaats to Vice President for Career Advancement and Athletics.
Slaats, who came to Lake Forest in 1986, has served as the College's Director of Athletics for the last 27 years and as Senior Advisor to the President since 2008. The Athletic Department has experienced many enhancements to its "Tradition of Excellence" during her tenure, including the creation of the Forester Athletic Network and Fanatics (booster clubs), implementation of the Forester Game Plan (career preparation program for student-athletes), the addition of nine varsity programs, and partnerships with several local community organizations. In addition, she has overseen several significant improvements made to Lake Forest College athletic facilities, including the transition of Athletic Department offices to Halas Hall in 2001, expansion of the Sports and Recreation Center in 2010, completion of the Home Ice Advantage Campaign renovations from 2012-17, and installation of new synthetic turf at Farwell Field in 2017. The Princeton Review ranked Lake Forest College 18th in the country for "Best Athletic Facilities" in 2016.
Forester teams have been extremely successful under her direction, combining for a .600 winning percentage in league play over the last 27 years. They have also captured 57 Midwest Conference or Northern Collegiate Hockey Association championships, claimed 39 U.S. Handball Association national collegiate titles, and made 61 appearances in NCAA Championship competition. Individual athletes have been named all-conference more than 1,200 times with nearly 200 All-American honors and 1,500 academic all-conference accolades.
In addition to her accomplishments as an administrator, Slaats enjoyed an extremely successful coaching career at the College. In 22 seasons at the helm of the Forester women's basketball program, her teams posted an impressive 386-133 record, claimed six conference titles, and made five trips to the NCAA Tournament. Her .744 career winning percentage ranks among the top 25 in NCAA Division III women's basketball history. She also coached the volleyball team to a 100-84 record in the six seasons prior to becoming director of athletics.
In honor of her numerous coaching and administrative accomplishments; Slaats was inducted into the Lake Forest College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014 and, as a Cuba City, Wisconsin, native, the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012.
Slaats earned her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in 1986, where she played four years of basketball for the Cyclones, and her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1992.
Slaats' promotion allows her to continue overseeing the Athletic Department while Interim Director of Athletics Blake Theisen assumes responsibility for the day-to-day operations. She will also maintain oversight of the Career Advancement Center, a role she has filled for the last two years. During that time the CAC has greatly enhanced the College's five Career Pathway communities, expanded employer relationships throughout Greater Chicago, increased internship opportunities, and provided effective career counseling for hundreds of students. The Princeton Review ranked Lake Forest #9 in internship placement and #12 in best alumni networks in the publication's most recent college rankings.
"In addition to all of the success in Forester Athletics over the years, Jackie's personal energy has inspired everyone who works in and with CAC, and the whole College has benefited from her dedicated leadership," stated Schutt.
"I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the College and for me in my new dual career advancement and athletics role," began Slaats. "Momentum is strong in each area and I look forward to continuing to work closely with President Schutt and with Interim Directors Colleen Monks and Blake Theisen, along with the career advancement and athletic staff members, to accomplish important College goals in the years ahead.
"Lake Forest College is a special place and it's not a secret that I care deeply about our students and alumni. Student success, post-graduate outcomes, and alumni engagement are important to the College and to me personally, and one of the goals in in my new, expanded role is to make an even greater impact in those areas. There is a tremendous amount of pride in being a Forester and I look forward to building on what has been unprecedented success in athletics and careers, which is a testament to the talents of our students, to the strength of our campus community, and to the future of the College."