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From Dateline (May 6, 2004)

CLE Members Volunteer to Show the Way at Titan Athletic Events

Ask the volunteer ushers from Continuing Learning Experience why they like serving at campus sports events and you’ll get almost as many answers as the number of fans they assist at these games.

This year more than a dozen members of CLE, a campus group made up of more than 700 semi- and retired professionals, have been serving as ushers at baseball, basketball and softball games.

Rachel Sweet likes to usher because it’s a great excuse for going to see the Titans play baseball. Donna Spradlin – whose husband, Kirt, is CLE president – says she enjoys being outdoors at the baseball and softball games, assisting fans and occasionally rounding up small children who have strayed from their parents.

“We’re part of the university, and we feel even closer to the community with our involvement,” says Dave Musante, who coordinates the program.
The usher program began last fall when Steve DiTolla, director of athletics, marketing, suggested that such volunteer activity might be beneficial to both the university and to CLE members.

“The CLE volunteer ushers are a great addition to our staff,” says DiTolla. “They are not replacing any of our student ushers, but are augmenting our staffing. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.”

The program involves 15-20 CLE members. “We have six CLE ushers for baseball games, and four each for basketball and women’s softball,” says Musante.

CLE president Spradlin adds that CLE members make great ambassadors for the community. “And most of us enjoy Titan baseball, basketball and women’s softball games.”

“The program is a great partnership,” reports Pam Jones, athletics’ director of development. Assignments are posted in the CLE office, and members can always check to see if ushers are needed for a particular game. Participants are furnished with distinctive shirts and jackets.

Although volunteers are not paid, athletics plans to make a donation to CLE for the organization’s help at the games.

Now 25 years old, CLE offers its members special classes, lecture series and activities – all in support of lifelong learning. It is headquartered in the Ruby Gerontology Center, which was financed with non-state funds. CLE members spearheaded planning and fundraising efforts to build the facility.