Photo of Jason Imperati. Headshot submitted by Jason Imperati.
Lawrence has brought on Jason Imperati as Athletic Director following the departure of former Athletic Director Kim Tatro in late February 2022. In an email sent to Lawrence students, faculty and staff on June 6, 2022, Imperati’s hire was announced by Christyn Abaray, Chief of Staff to President Laurie Carter and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.
Imperati has served in a variety of roles across a variety of institutions, including serving as Athletics Compliance Officer at the New York Institute of Technology and Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations at the University of the District of Columbia. Before coming to Lawrence, Imperati briefly served as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance at Bowie State University in Maryland.
Imperati said that he was attracted to the job because it gave him an opportunity to live closer to his family as well as gave him the opportunity to move up to the top position in an athletic department, after serving in a variety of supporting roles at different institutions. He added that support from Carter and Abaray and their willingness to listen to his ideas have been helpful during this transition. As Athletic Director, Imperati is hoping to continue to reimagine the Athletic Department, including upgrading areas of Alexander Gym and continuing to work on the rebranding of the Athletic Department logo.
After Tatro’s departure, a handful of student athletes came forward to express concerns that they hoped would be addressed by Tatro’s replacement. One anonymous athlete claimed that they often had to skip meals in order to make it to practice on time and that they didn’t feel that Athletic Department staff understood or appreciated the work they put into it.
Additionally, senior Marifé Entenza-Sierra, a junior at the time, who is a member of the Women’s Volleyball Team, stated that it doesn’t feel that mental health is a priority for athletes. A desire for better sexual assault prevention was also expressed.
Imperati addressed these concerns. He discussed the new leadership in Bon App, Lawrence’s food services, and how the Athletic Department has been working with Bon App to ensure that athletes have appropriate nutrition, including athletes with dietary restrictions. According to Imperati, the Athletic Department has been pushing to keep Andrew Commons open until 7:30 p.m. to ensure they have time to make it to dinner.
Imperati also discussed efforts currently taking place, such as partnering with Wellness Services to help students deal with mental health issues and working to bring in experts who can provide students with that additional support.
Although he stressed that Title IX issues are not his area of expertise and that students should go to Title IX Coordinator Allison Vetter with these concerns, Imperati feels that it’s important for athletes to feel that they can come to him. Imperati added that he has brought in Vetter to speak to athletes at the beginning of the year and that he often attends practices in order to build relationships with students and make sure they feel safe opening up to him.
Imperati added that it’s important to prove to students that he can be a good resource and handle problems that come up during those times that students feel frustrated with him, regardless of what those issues are.
“As the Director of Athletics, my door is always open.” Imperati said. “If I don’t know, I will find an answer.”
Imperati also expressed a desire for a better relationship between student-athletes and other campus communities. He feels that it is his and his coaches’ responsibility to build relationships with other members of faculty, staff and the student body. He added that student-athletes were present for move-in day to help first-years move in and hopes that actions like this will relieve some of this tension.
Under Imperati’s leadership, he hopes that student-athletes will be present in the community and stressed that it is important for Lawrence students to feel connected to each other.
Kim Falkenhagen, the Associate Athletic Director, who filled in for Tatro prior to Imperati’s hiring, added that she was happy to step in to fill Tatro’s vacancy and feels that Imperati will be a great addition to the department.