As academic and life skills coordinator in the Department of Athletics, Dedra Butler helps student-athletes progress in five key areas: academics, athletics, personal development, career development and community service.

“The CHAMPS program offers student-athletes different ways to grasp ideas and the necessary tools for being successful here,” Butler says. “These tools can be obtained through team workshops, interacting with guest speakers, working with tutors available at study table, going out into the community to work with kids or even through individual meetings with the student services staff.

“Through this process I am able to Challenge Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success. This preparation helps them envision where they want their paths to take them.”

The program’s success has not gone unnoticed. The department received the Community & Youth Outreach Award from the National Consortium for Academics & Sports for efforts with K-12 schools last year.

During her own academic years, Butler recognized both the opportunity and the value of a diverse campus experience. She was a captain of the track & field team and a member of the African American Student Union, Sociology Club, Athletes in Action and the UC Inspiration gospel choir, all while supporting two of her professors in their individual research efforts. Even with this schedule she was able to achieve Big West scholar-athlete status and earn Dean’s list honors.

“Success comes to those who first have a vision,” she says. “Once you recognize this vision, then it is up to you to utilize the resources available to you, on and off campus, to help you get there.”

“Dedra’s programming takes a total development perspective,” says Khari Johnson, assistant athletics director, student services. “It has been a pleasure working with her while she continues to deliver programs that enhance the student-athlete experience.”

Butler’s twin sister, Margaret, also a former scholar-athlete in track & field at UCI, works as an admissions counselor in theOffice of Admissions and Relations with Schools.

“Some people call us the ‘Dynamic Duo,’ says Dedra Butler. “I guess it’s because we both excelled in school here and love to sing a cappella at various functions.”

Born and raised in Redlands, they enjoy playing basketball, horseback riding and spending time with family, friends and their pets: a dog, Charlie; a horse, W.T.; and two cats, Pepper and Bogey.