NEW LONDON, N.H. — Searsmont native Will Hyland accomplished much during his four years of undergraduate studies at Colby-Sawyer College and managed to gain valuable career experience while in New London, New Hampshire.
Hyland, who spent his last three years at Colby-Sawyer as class president, graduated magna cum laude as a member of the Wesson Honors Program in May with a bachelor’s in sports management.
At commencement, he received the Colby-Sawyer Award for best exemplifying the ideals of the college in personal dignity, intellectual growth, contribution to campus life and constructive influence on other students, and the Class of 2019 Commencement Speaker Medal, delivering the senior commencement address "Bring Your Ship Out of Port."
The speech, which used a paraphrase from St. Thomas Aquinas, illustrated how commencement is the opportunity to aim high in life, Hyland said.
Video of Hyland receiving the Colby-Sawyer Award and and delivering his commencement address can be viewed by clicking here.
He served as his class president for three years, an orientation leader and was a member of the Presidential Blue Key Society, Navigators Christian Fellowship, and the Exercise and Sport Sciences Club.
Though he currently does not work within sports management, he has been able to apply many of the skills gleaned through his studies and internship experiences for his role in marketing and sales with a sustainable retail company in Portland.
“Whether it’s supply-chain management, marketing, customer service, or intellectual property laws, it’s pertinent in the business world regardless of the specific sector,” he stated.
As his class president for three years, Hyland developed strong relationships with the majority of the school’s senior staff members and became an informational source for fellow students.
In his senior year, he chaired a committee planning senior week activities and attended senior staff meetings pertaining to commencement planning.
“Just working alongside senior staff members helped me grasp what it took to undertake such big events,” he stated.
Aside from his student government participation, Hyland gained an abundance of experience through several sports management internship and shadowing experiences.
Hyland served for two summers, in 2017 and 2018, as a game-day associate for the Portland Sea Dogs, a minor league affiliate team of the Boston Red Sox, a Major League Baseball team.
In his role with the Sea Dogs, he was involved in game-day tasks including ticket sales, ushering, customer and event service, and promotions.
“I was able to meet a lot of great people in the sports industry, including players, coaches, and executives with tremendous experience,” Hyland said of his time with the Sea Dogs. “Being there for two seasons, I was especially grateful to develop such meaningful relationships with the staff there.”
In January 2017, Hyland flew from Bangor to Minneapolis, Minnesota along with one other student to shadow Colby-Sawyer alumna Ethan Casson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Timberwolves, of the National Basketball Association, and the Minnesota Lynx, of the Women’s National Basketball Association, for one week.
In Minneapolis, Hyland sat in on meetings, observed how various departments within the Timberwolves organization are operated and learned just how many jobs and people need to come together to operate professional sports franchises.
Though Hyland noted the experience was sweet, the lone downside, he said, was the -35 degree weather he experienced in Minneapolis.
In the fall of 2017, during his junior year of college, Hyland originally planned to spend a semester studying abroad and interning with a sports team in another country.
Though the experience would have been another noteworthy resume-booster, Hyland was deterred by the fact he would have to relinquish his class president duties for the semester and how a previous study-abroad experience he signed up for was canceled.
As Hyland scoped out internship possibilities outside Colby-Sawyer, one of his courses hosted a guest speaker from Dartmouth College for a presentation on collegiate sports sponsorships.
Intrigued by the lure of interning with an Ivy League institution playing at the NCAA Division I level, Hyland followed up with the guest speaker to inquire about possible internship opportunities.
From there, Hyland was put in contact with the speaker’s colleague, who is employed by Learfield IMG College, the company the Dartmouth athletic department contracts for sponsorship and marketing.
At Dartmouth, Hyland worked on sponsorship activation for the college’s football, basketball and ice hockey games and was exposed to every aspect of game-day management.
For those interested in pursing valuable resume-boosting experiences, Hyland noted there are numerous opportunities available for those ready to take advantage of them.
“Put simply, be opportunistic and show that you’re willing to be coachable and learn,” he said. “Kids from Maine (and especially the Midcoast) can do anything.”
Though he would love to be governor, Hyland, ultimately, hopes to continue working with companies keen on investing in Maine’s economy.
“In my opinion, [Maine] should be ‘open for business’ and encourage entrepreneurship and job creation at every turn,” he stated. “So if I could play any part in the growth of Maine’s economy, I would call that a dream for me.”
Reach George Harvey and the sports department at: firstname.lastname@example.org.