Claire Boughton

Equinox Staff

With the fall sports season working its way into full swing, the Little East Conference has a fresh face taking the reins.

Dr. Pamela Samuelson assumed the role of commissioner for the NCAA Division III conference only seven weeks ago, however she is no rookie to leadership positions.

Samuelson’s career began as the assistant director of athletics at UMass Boston before she left to become the director of athletics at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

During her 16-year term at Susquehanna, Samuelson experienced a great deal of success. From creating multiple programs such as SU FACT (Female Athlete Connection Team) to paving the way for the university to become a founding member of the Landmark Conference, Samuelson was and still is no stranger to outstanding achievements according to the Little East Conference website.

But what made her decide to return to the Little East Conference after being out of New England for so long?

“I was looking for a new challenge,” Samuelson said when asked that very question. “I’ve been the A.D. for 16 years at Susquehanna… I’m certainly not ready to retire at this point… but I wanted a new challenge.”

And a new challenge is what she got.

Samuelson is now the eighth commissioner, fifth to serve at a full-time capacity, the Little East Conference has seen since its creation in 1986 (

However, she has a plan, one which she has already put into action.

Samuelson’s visit to Keene State College this past Friday, September 6, was part of an all LEC schools tour.

“The first thing I wanted to do was… get onto campuses, meet with the various constituents,” Samuelson explained. “I spent time with Phil (KSC Athletic Director), I spent time today with Melinda (KSC President)… I spent time with coaches… I spent time with student athletes… that’s been the goal, to get onto campuses, to listen.”

Zack Collins, a senior at Keene double majoring in criminal justice and sociology, is the captain of the men’s swim and dive team and one of the student athletes who got to meet with Dr. Samuelson.

“I thought she was very kind and very excited to improve the lives of all student athletes across the Little East Conference,” Collins said after his meeting with the commissioner.

“I’m hoping that Keene State can have a strong, competitive Little East Conference across all sports,” Collins explained when asked for changes he hopes to see Samuelson bring. “Some sports in Keene play against a majority of LEC teams, while some other sports teams reach out to teams outside the conference in order to have either a better competitive season or to compete against teams in sports that the LEC doesn’t have enough teams for.”

Men’s swim and dive is an example of a team that does not compete in the Little East Conference. Rather, they compete in the New England Intercollegiate Swimming and Diving Association, NEISDAs for short.

Paxton Blanchard, a junior at Keene double majoring in safety and business management and a player on the men’s lacrosse team, sat down with Samuelson alongside Collins.

“I really enjoyed meeting with Dr. Samuelson,” Blanchard said. “She has good plans for making the LEC better in every way she can and… I think she will do an awesome job not only this year but in the years to come.”

Samuelson will finish her LEC schools tour before returning to the LEC office in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Claire Boughton can be contacted at

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