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Commitment to Health, Fitness, and Community Success

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David Steveson professional portrait

"AU was the inspiration for all of this."

While such a statement may seem a bit strong, for David Stevenson, CAS/MS '83, CAS/PhD '90, who serves as president and CEO of the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, the sentiment is truly heartfelt. He credits much of his success and community involvement not only to AU, but in particular to Professor Dr. Robert Karch.

"[Dr. Karch] was a great inspiration and mentor in my life and still is. I had a lot of the wellness skills, but we kind of sharpened those. Then I was introduced through joint program classes, where we took accounting and business law and all of the finance classes with the MBA students, to skills which have really helped me in my career," David explained. "I'm in a bit of an administrative role right now, so a lot of the work that I do is related to strategic planning, board governance, finance, accounting, and human resources. I really learned a lot of it at AU. I'm forever indebted to the experience I had there."

David was first attracted to pursuing his master's degree in health/fitness management because he loved the idea of combining his passion for health and wellness with aspects related to running an organization. It didn't hurt that in doing his graduate school research he found that graduates of the program landed great jobs. In fact, after finishing his program, David worked at AU for close to four years in partnership with the National Center for Health Fitness where, he says, "we had some really large contracts to do health and wellness programming and wellness testing with groups like the United States Army, the United States Army Materiel Command, and the US Postal Service."

During this time, Dr. Karch approached David and his wife, Maura Stevenson, CAS/PhD '89, and encouraged them both to pursue PhDs in educational administration; an idea which previously hadn't been on their radars, but has since served them well.

When an opportunity with the YMCA of DC presented itself in 1987, David knew it was the perfect way to incorporate his love of wellness and fitness with business. "I knew this would offer the best of both worlds. I could continue my community outreach work while also doing the corporate wellness work that I fell in love with," he recalls.

For more than 30 years, David has utilized the skills he refined at AU through leadership positions with various YMCAs. Why the Y you might ask? "We have so many challenges that we're facing in society today," he explained. "I'm a bit of a do gooder. I'm one of those people who really wants to help our community"

He loves his work, though, because, in his words, "Being able to see the lives that we're changing… it's a thrill for me."