For Alexis Garhart, from Belle Mead, New Jersey, the University of Delaware has always felt like a second home. Her parents are Double Dels who met as freshmen within four hours of their arrival on campus. So, when Garhart decided to attend UD, she was looking forward to continuing her family legacy and leaving a lasting impact on the Blue Hen community. Four years later, Garhart earned recognition as the high index senior among her graduating peers.
The award recognizes the graduating senior who has achieved the highest grade-point index, earned in full-time study toward a degree, which combines GPA with the highest number of earned hours taken in residence at UD. Blue Hens earning a single degree must complete their program in four years, and students pursuing multiple, simultaneous degrees must complete their studies in five years or less.
“I was really sentimental when I learned that I had won this award,” said Garhart. “I needed a moment to take it all in because it made me reflect on all the incredible things I have experienced during my four years. This award feels like a culmination of all my hard work and it is a gratifying feeling.”
Garhart was awarded a bachelor of science in marketing and sport management with minors in advertising and event management during the UD Lerner College Commencement on Saturday, May 29. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA, after taking 157 total credits. Garhart shared the secrets to her success, advice for future Blue Hens and her plans for the future in this Q&A.
Lerner: What has been your “secret” to maintaining perfect grades?
Garhart: I learned early on how to create relationships with those around me, whether it be with professors or fellow students. There were definitely certain classes that I struggled with and I adapted by attending professors’ office hours and creating study groups. I often found that connecting what we were learning to real-world applications helped me understand and appreciate the material. Also, never be afraid to ask for help – communication is key!
Lerner: What is the biggest piece of advice you would give incoming underclassmen?
Garhart: My most significant piece of advice is to get involved, both inside and outside the classroom. This includes taking the time to get to know your professors, who are essential for personal and professional growth. The four years go by FAST. Do not be afraid to aim big, try new things and push yourself because it is a time for learning and some of the best things come out of the worst failures.
Lerner: Why did you choose your combination of majors and minors?
Garhart: I always knew that I wanted to work for a people-oriented industry and in an environment that is not a typical office setting, which led me to sports. I love the marketing side, where I can directly affect people. People use sports to advance their business through partnerships, spend time with their family by attending games or rally together over their favorite team’s sponsored events. I love my area of study and future career path because I am able to connect people to their goals through sport.
With my marketing and sport management majors, I concentrated my studies on exactly where I wanted to start my career, which was specifically sport marketing. I chose the event management minor to help me understand the production and operation aspects of sports games and events. The advertising minor helped me learn to use tools like social media to promote and sell any organization.
Lerner: What other activities at UD have had the biggest impact on your time as an underclassman?
Garhart: I got very involved over my four years at UD. My favorite experiences came from the co-ed business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, my work with UD Athletics and my leadership development in the Blue Hen Leadership Program. Alpha Kappa Psi allowed me to surround myself with others who share a professional mindset, which inevitably motivated me to be my best self. My work with UD Athletics in the marketing department solidified my passion for sport marketing. In addition, I loved starting my leadership journey with the Blue Hen Leadership Program and working directly with a local non-profit. It was also an honor and a privilege to act as the President of the Sport Management Club for two years.
I also had the opportunity to study international sports abroad in Greece, which was an experience I will never forget. I was able to stay in Athens but travel to the islands, including Santorini and Mykonos!
Lerner: What are your post-graduation plans?
Garhart: I am very passionate about starting my career in the sport industry and I look forward to finding an opportunity to begin my full-time career. It is challenging to navigate the job market in a post-pandemic world, especially in an industry like sports that was hit very hard, but I am excited to see what the future holds for me! I am searching for opportunities to work for a professional sport team or league, ideally in the NFL. I am also applying to UD’s MBA program.
Lerner: Is there anyone at UD that you want to thank?
Garhart: Honestly, my success would not have been possible without the endless support of so many professors, staff and students. I want to start by thanking UD alumnus Arianna Thompson of the New York Football Giants for being my professional mentor and for genuinely defining what it looks like to be a successful woman in the sport industry.
Next, I would like to thank Sarah Williams, my professor and Sport Management Club advisor, for being my biggest supporter and always helping me get to the next step. In addition, I want thank Kia Anderson in the UD Athletics’ marketing department for giving me the opportunity to work in the sport industry for my entire four years. I would also like to give a shout-out to my academic advisor, Cindy Walkusky, for always keeping me on track and to Professor Dee Muir for their support in the marketing major.