Belmont Abbey College President Invited to Rome for Sports Seminar — Thierfelder to Participate in Think Tank on ‘Church and Sport’ in November

October 27, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
BELMONT, NC —- What does the Vatican, the sports industry, and the president of a private, Catholic liberal arts college near Charlotte, North Carolina all have in common?

Everything if you are Dr. William K. Thierfelder from Belmont Abbey College invited by the Vatican to participate in a special seminar involving how the Church can have a positive impact on athletes worldwide.

Thierfelder, a former Olympian and two-time All-American, will travel to the Vatican in Rome on November 11 and 12, 2005 for a two-day seminar on sports and religion.

“The whole world is telling our athletes to be self-centered,” says Thierfelder. “I’m going against the grain. What people don’t get is that ‘winning’ is a byproduct of doing what is right. Ultimately, the idea here is that sports, if properly directed, can bring you closer to God.”

The Vatican’s first international seminar on the subject will bring together Thierfelder and 50 other participants from around the world representing sports associations, bishops’ conferences, chaplains, coaches, sports professionals, and other experts in the field. The group will talk about how the Roman Catholic Church plays a role in the world of sports and will cover everything from violence and drugs to opportunities for new evangelism. The goal will be to lay the groundwork for the new "Church and Sport" section within the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

Although not scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict XVI personally, Thierfelder sees the invitation as an opportunity that will benefit Belmont Abbey College and the world at large.

Thierfelder, 46, became the 20th president of Belmont Abbey College on June 24, 2004. He succeeded Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., who had served as the interim president of the Catholic, liberal arts college.

As the president of York Barbell Company in York, Pennsylvania for two years prior to his position at the Abbey, Thierfelder was responsible for creating the vision and strategic plan to facilitate the company’s turn around and rejuvenate its brand as one of the most recognizable names in the industry. He has also successfully helped develop, trademark and patented new and innovative lines of products, significantly increased sales, and expanded the company’s worldwide reach.

During Dr. Thierfelder’s career, he had also served as an executive director of the Player Management Group, LLC and was founder and president of ProSportDoc, Inc., a successful performance enhancement service company that helped professional athletes develop their physical and mental abilities to better train and compete.

As an adjunct assistant professor of surgery at the Milton S. Hershey College of Medicine of the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Thierfelder also founded the Sports Performance Training Program at the Hershey Medical Center. The former Olympian and two-time All-American frequently speaks at the national level, presenting lectures, seminars and workshops to coaches, athletes, clinicians, and psychologists across the country.

Dr. Thierfelder received his masters and doctorate degrees in sports psychology and human movement from Boston University. He is a licensed psychologist, a diplomat of the American Board of Psychological Specialties and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength & Conditioning Association, and the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology. He is also a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Society of Sports Psychology, and the United States Olympic Committee's Sport Psychology Registry.

A native of Bronx, New York, Dr. Thierfelder has made Gaston County his home with his wife Mary, and their nine children.

Ranked one of the best comprehensive colleges in the Southeast by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review, Belmont Abbey College celebrates excellence and virtue steeped in its 129-year Catholic Benedictine heritage. The liberal arts College is home to students from over 34 states and 26 countries and welcomes everyone from any background or tradition committed to this vision of excellence and virtue. The campus consists of the College, the Monastery and the Abbey Basilica, which can be found on its sprawling 650 acres of picturesque landscape.

Just minutes from Charlotte, NC, the nation’s second largest banking center, Belmont Abbey College offers students numerous internship opportunities and career placement.

The College believes in development of the whole person – mind, body and spirit. By offering a wide array of clubs and activities including Division II athletics, theatre, publications, and study abroad, Belmont Abbey College invests in the personal growth of its students.

Founded in 1876, the College celebrates its heritage and is inspired by the Benedictine monastic tradition. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the College and Abbey Basilica greet thousands of visitors each year.