AMHERST, Mass.– The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management has announced Christine Franklin, vice president of Octagon, and George H. VanderZwaag, executive director of athletics at the University of Rochester, are the recipients of the 2016 Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Department chair Janet Fink will present the awards during the McCormack Sport Management Awards Banquet at the Mullins Center on Tuesday, April 12. Launched in 1993, this award recognizes McCormack alumni for their professional excellence and outstanding achievement in the sports industry as well as for their dedication to McCormack Department of Sport Management.
Christine Franklin serves as a vice president at Octagon, one of the world’s largest sports marketing and representation agencies. In her current role, she manages a cross-functional team responsible for developing and implementing MasterCard’s global sponsorships strategy and technology integrations.
Over the past 16 years, Franklin has worked with clients including BMW of North America, Fidelity Investments, MGM Mirage and MasterCard Worldwide in sponsorship consulting, event management and cause-related and integrated marketing. She has developed and implemented programs with the world’s largest sports and entertainment properties including FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, the Senior Open Championship, Ryder Cup, Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Major League Baseball, PGA Tour, the New York City Wine and Food Festival, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival and the Grammy Awards. From 2004-08 she served on the USA Field Hockey board of directors as the chair of its advancement committee. In 2006, Franklin was appointed to the U.S. Field Hockey Foundation board of trustees and subsequently spearheaded the Beijing & Beyond fundraising campaign leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games.
Franklin has also contributed to campaigns benefitting non-profit organizations including Komen for the Cure, StandUp2Cancer and Share our Strength. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a B.S. in sport management where she was a four-year letter winner on the field hockey team. She earned her MBA from the University of Connecticut, and resides in Connecticut.
Since George H. VanderZwaag’s arrival as head of the department of athletics and recreation, the University of Rochester athletic teams and recreational programs have experienced tremendous growth. Based on overall winning percentage, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s soccer, softball and men’s squash completed their most successful decades in school history. He launched the university’s 23rd varsity program in 2009 in women’s rowing. During his tenure, basketball teams have appeared in five NCAA Final Fours and men’s squash advanced to a national final against Yale in 2016. The recreational programs at Rochester have also doubled in size. Heading into the 2015-16 academic year, 124 athletes have earned All-America honors in a variety of sports. Fifty athletes have been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Team as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
VanderZwaag has overseen a number of major capital projects, including a $14.6 million renovation of the Goergen Athletic Center and design of the 11,000-square foot Fitness Center. He is currently overseeing the completion of a $15 million outdoor complex that includes a renovation of the existing stadium and a new locker room facility. He also launched a successful advancement program for athletics in 2000 that has helped the university achieve its goals in its current $1.2 billion campaign. The 2015-16 academic year marks VanderZwaag’s 17thyear in his role, having previously served as senior associate athletics director at Princeton University. George H. VanderZwaag is the son of Harold J. VanderZwaag.