Shenandoah University senior Chris Kumke has earned recognition as the Male Student Leader of the Year for the inaugural National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) National Awards.
The NACE awards honor and celebrate individuals and their contributions in advancing collegiate esports. Kumke, an esports management major, was one of three finalists for the award. The other finalists were from St. Clair College in Canada and Boise State University in Idaho.
I am so proud of Chris and all he has done for the Shenandoah University esports program. This award is indicative of all the work he has put in to build the program and grow it into the success it is today. Chris has led the way for future students and the future of the program. He is so deserving of this award and it shows the kind of work ethic we value here at Shenandoah.”
Director of Esports Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D.
During his time at Shenandoah, Kumke ran an intercampus Call of Duty tournament with more than 100 spectators and a student demonstration team for a Rocket League scrimmage for more than 300 attendees at the Association for Collegiate Computing Services of Virginia. He also worked with university leadership to develop policies for the Shenandoah esports program and planned a 16-team collegiate Rocket League invitational tournament, which was eventually canceled due to COVID-19. In addition, Kumke participated in the university’s volunteer trip to South Korea to work at the International Esports Federation World Championship and was part of Shenandoah’s 72-hour streamed fundraiser for veterans during a recent Call of Duty release.
Most importantly, Kumke was one of three students, along with Gawrysiak, to start Shenandoah’s competitive varsity esports teams.
Starting the Shenandoah esports teams gave me hands-on experience of how to start a program from the ground up. We built a community with sponsorships, events and a lot more. Getting this award shows me how much the program has evolved from a passion project to an actual program. All the hard work has paid off and now I am getting rewarded for it. Shenandoah University gave me the chance to explore my passion and now we have a major.”
Chris Kumke ’20
Kumke will graduate in fall 2020. He said he would like to continue working in the esports field managing esports teams, running events and working on sponsorships. He would also consider working at the collegiate level or as a head coach.
Other recognitions from NACE’s awards competition included Women’s Student Leader of the Year, Coach of the Year (in Rocket League, Overwatch and League of Legends), Program Director of the Year, Collegiate Shoutcaster of the Year, and Collegiate Broadcast Team of the Year.