This new endowed professor position is supported by a charitable gift from Arthur H. Hertz, who generously donated $500,000 before his passing last year to establish the endowed professorship in sports tourism. Hertz’s donation and vision allows the University to expand its sports administration program, one of the only in the nation with a business focus and founded in 1973; and be among the few universities in the world that offer a sports tourism management degree or specialization.
“Dr. Epling’s expertise and dedication to our sports administration program, which is already one of the oldest and highly ranked in the country, will set us further apart from the rest,” said STU President Franklyn Casale. “He will build upon the university’s strong commitment to student success and prepare students for professional careers in sports tourism.”
Dr. Epling joined the University in 2016 as an associate professor of sports administration and sports tourism. He previously served in administrative roles as a program coordinator, department chair, and school dean at Reinhardt University and Berry College in Georgia. His research and professional development interests focus on the history of big-time intercollegiate sports, and the relationship between academics and athletics on contemporary college campuses.
“Arthur Hertz was and remains a south Florida business icon, especially in the areas of entertainment and tourism," said Epling. "It is humbling and gratifying to hold a professorship that bears his name. His philanthropic legacy now provides our already renowned Sports Administration program the opportunity to benefit St. Thomas University students through expanded efforts in sports tourism."
According to the World Tourism Organization, the global tourism market is projected to grow between 2 and 3 percent while estimating that the sport tourism sector will grow approximately 14 percent presenting major national and global opportunities to the University’s graduates.