Dr. John Borland, Associate Professor of Sport Management, passed away in his sleep on December 26, 2023, after a hard fought, year-long battle with cancer. Dr. Borland had served Springfield College for the last 18 years, and was an earnest advocate for students during his tenure. His current and former students are quick to state that Dr. Borland was one of the hardest professors during their time at Springfield, and also the most impactful. Having come to academia by way of a career in journalism, Dr. Borland held the highest standards of communication for the students. While oral and written skill development were his specialties within the classroom, Dr. Borland also expected his students to open their minds to become much more than just sports fans, but also great leaders and managers within the sport industries. Having completed his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Borland was an advocate for social justice and equity within sport and education. His former students would comment on the ways in which he had made space for all voices to be heard, and his mentorship helped launch many students towards careers and leadership opportunities that had once been intimidating.
As a UConn graduate, Dr. Borland was also an avid women’s basketball fan and could be found in attendance at games not only at UConn, but here at Blake Arena as well. He had an unwavering commitment to women’s athletics, and looked for opportunities for women to advance in sport, both in and out of the classroom. Perhaps what has always been most impressive about Dr. Borland was his quiet passion for teaching. He would continually state that our duty as faculty is to challenge the students with creative and innovative assignments and coursework.
His classes here in the Sport Management program were some of the most daunting, with lengthy assignments that were scaffolded and developed throughout the semester, while students were provided with extensive feedback for development. This passion for teaching came through even in his absence this past year, as he continued to make the connections for students to work with alumni throughout his courses, on experiential assignments with the Orlando Magic and the Travelers Championship so that the students could receive real-time feedback from sport professionals. While Dr. Borland’s classes were the most challenging, most impactful and most rewarding for students, he was never one to discuss his teaching- only his students’ successes. Dr. Borland served Springfield College for 18 years, and while he has been on numerous committees, served as both the Program Director and Internship Coordinator for the Sport Management program, published several books and articles, and been a fervent voice among the faculty, he will always be remembered as an outstanding teacher, who cared deeply about his students, and their individual successes.