As part of the annual William Smith College Founder’s Day celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 14, the HWS community welcomed back to campus Chrysa Chin ’84, executive vice president for strategic engagement and development for the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). Chin participated in a public dialogue in the Bartlett Theatre, where she received the Alumna Achievement Award, the William Smith Alumnae Association’s highest honor.
“Chrysa Chin’s inspiring career illustrates William Smith’s goal when he founded the College more than 100 years ago: an educational opportunity that empowers each graduate to live an ‘abundant life,’” said Kathy Killius Regan ’82, P’13, assistant vice president for advancement. “Chrysa is a leader at the top of her field, where she has an incredible impact not only on professional basketball and its players but on the millions of lives the game touches. We are honored to welcome her back to campus for this year’s Founder’s Day celebration.”
The Founder’s Day event was streamed live on the HWS website.
In a 2014 profile, Sports Illustrated described Chin as “a trusted confidant and life coach to NBA players around the league. A teacher, mentor and friend, Chin has been a shoulder to lean on for rookies and veterans alike…someone they can trust when it comes to enduring the off-the-court rigors of the league.”
At the NBPA, Chin directs the strategic implementation of player initiatives and innovative programs designed to foster relationships between players and businesses. An accomplished adviser, mentor and trailblazer, she has crafted a distinguished career supporting the personal and professional development of basketball players for more than 25 years. She is also director of the NBPA Foundation, which “highlights and accelerates the real and collaborative work that players do worldwide to build their communities and create meaningful change.”
Chin previously served as vice president for player development for the National Basketball Association (NBA), where she was the first woman to hold a managerial position in the Player Development Department and the title of vice president. At the NBA, she oversaw the department’s daily communication with players and their family support networks, and played active roles with the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program, NBA/NBPA Player Assistance Program, USA Basketball and the WNBA.
The Alumna Achievement Award is presented by the Alumnae Association to William Smith alumnae who, by reason of outstanding accomplishments in their particular business, profession or community service, have brought honor and distinction to their alma mater.
Chin’s return to campus coincides with the annual celebration of William Smith’s founding by the Geneva nurseryman and philanthropist for whom the college is named. Inspired by the suffragette movement in nearby Seneca Falls, Smith made the gift to establish William Smith College on Dec. 13, 1906, and two years later, the school enrolled its first class. The College was founded adjacent to Hobart and entered into a coordinate arrangement that is now unique in American higher education.
One of the College’s oldest traditions, Founder’s Day brings together students, alums, administrators and faculty members to celebrate the establishment of the College and the achievements of its students and graduates. Throughout the week leading up to Founder’s Day, William Smith Congress has planned a series of events in the Scandling Campus Center to give the HWS community a chance to display their William Smith pride.
Chin spearheaded the expansion of the league’s “20 & Under” program which supports rookie players to successfully adjust to their careers as professional athletes. Her impressive resume boasts All-Stars such as Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Alonzo Mourning — players who have fostered record-breaking careers and community-building foundations. Chin also co-founded the National Basketball Wives Association, which empowers players’ wives to take leadership roles in community development and philanthropy while raising funds for charitable initiatives.
In 2004, Chin was commissioned by USA Basketball to work with the Men’s Senior National Team. Her guidance and player relation strategies assisted the players as they made the transition to international play. After capturing bronze at the 2004 Olympics, the team won gold at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics, and the 2010 and 2014 World Championships.
Chin, who earned a B.A. in international relations from William Smith, serves on the steering committee of the Professional Association of Athlete Development Specialists’ Athlete Development Summit, as well as several advisory boards.