March 1, 2018: Immaculata, PA Seven current DIII institutions have received approval from the NCAA to form the new Atlantic East Conference (AEC) effective September 1, 2018, and to begin competition in the 2018-19 season. The seven founding institutions of the Atlantic East include Cabrini University, Gwynedd Mercy University, Immaculata University, Marymount University, Marywood University, Neumann University, and Wesley College.
The Atlantic East is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, private colleges located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The geographic focus will bring together some of the top colleges in the region, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the student-athlete’s university experience.
Immaculata University President Barbara Lettiere said, “Immaculata is very pleased and proud to be among the founding members of the new Atlantic East Conference. We are confident that by being a part of this great group of colleges and universities, we will provide our student-athletes the best possible opportunities to excel.”
The Atlantic East was a culmination of efforts by the presidents, athletic direct reports and athletic directors of the seven institutions and was an extremely collaborative effort. Dr. Matt Shank, President of Marymount University and Chair of the Atlantic East President’s Council said, “we are all excited to bring institutions together that share similar missions, values and beliefs along with the common understanding that athletics play an important role at our institutions.”
The combination of the AEC geographic footprint and the institutional focus of the schools offers each institution the opportunity to enhance the student-athlete experience. Mr. Charles Sack, Director of Athletics and Recreation at Neumann University and Chair of the Atlantic East Athletic Director’s Council, stated, “The collegiality and vision of this group of institutions is very compelling. The geographic footprint combined with each institution’s effort to complement its academic mission with a vibrant and dynamic student-athlete experience is amazing and will be a point of difference as we move forward together.”
Immaculata’s Interim Director of Athletics and Recreation Janelle Cronmiller said, “This is a great chance for our athletic programs to raise their profile by competing in a conference with schools who share the same competitive goals. We know this is a beneficial move athletically for our student-athletes to challenge them on the field of play as we seek to continue our improvement regionally. This has been a lengthy process, with much of the foundation being laid by former Director of Athletics and current Vice President of Student Development & Engagement, Patty Canterino. Her help throughout has allowed our university to take advantage of this opportunity and we are thrilled that it has come to fruition.”
The Atlantic East will initially sponsor and host championships for 19 sports within the NCAA Division III. With seven schools, the Atlantic East will be eligible for automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament beginning in the 2020-21 seasons in the sports which all schools offer. The search for the founding commissioner will begin on March 5, 2018.
Assistant Athletic Director/Athletic Communications
Department of Athletics and Recreation