Laura Moliken – 2023 Wellness Champion Award Winner

Oct. 6, 2023 – Laura Moliken

Laura Moliken – 2023 Wellness Champion Award Winner

Laura Moliken

Vice President for Health & Wellness

Ursinus College

Collegeville, Pennsylvania

Laura is a 1993 graduate of Old Dominion University and played field hockey, compiling a 98-4-1 record and winning three consecutive NCAA Championships. A team captain, she was named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team in 1990 and 1992 and was twice named a Second Team All-American. She also played on the U.S. National Team in 1991-92. Laura was inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Hall of Fame in 2013. 

In her 24-year tenure at Ursinus College starting in 1999, she has played various key roles, including a 12-year stint as a field hockey coach where she earned National Coach of the Year in 2006. Subsequently, she served as a senior woman administrator, a visiting instructor in the ESS department, and held the endowed position as the Eleanor Frist Snell Chair of Health and Physical Education. Transitioning to Athletic Director in 2010, she focused on policy enhancement and prioritized the needs of her staff.

During the pandemic, she actively participated in the COVID Task Force, overseeing testing logistics and addressing health issues on campus, even in the absence of athletic competitions. In February 2022, she assumed the role of Vice President of Health and Wellness, continuing to excel in guiding the campus toward becoming a healthy workplace.

Laura has demonstrated exceptional leadership by steering the campus to join the U.S. Health Promoting Campuses Network. Under her guidance, the campus became the first Liberal Arts College in the country to commit to the Okanagan Charter, emphasizing the enhancement of well-being for individuals, places, and the planet. Laura's holistic perspective recognizes the interconnection of all elements, advocating for healthy systems, spaces, and places. She is actively transforming the campus culture, shifting from an individual health focus to one that promotes health through cultural and built environments. Notably, Laura led the effort to certify the campus as the First Recovery-Friendly Workplace in the nation, addressing the rising mental health challenges. This certification reflects campus-wide supportive policies, allyship programs, awareness initiatives, and recovery-friendly training, all championed by Laura and her team.

In her commitment to a public health approach, Laura is actively seeking grants and funders to establish an outdoor gym for both campus and community use. The proposed gym includes spaces for yoga, zumba classes, and features like jumping and stretching blocks, with plans for sustainability, including a solar panel roof. Laura's dedication to these initiatives reflects her forward-thinking and innovative ideas that benefit not only the campus but the broader community.

Laura not only leads a healthy lifestyle through her own activities and nutrition but also openly shares her knowledge without judgment. She actively seeks to help others discover their path to fitness, doing so with a balanced and pressure-free approach. This year, she also initiated the Fall Fitness Series for employees, a four-week program consisting of three workouts per week. The series includes beginner-level exercises in weight training, body pump/circuit training, yoga, and walk/run exercises. Laura's innovative approach allows participants to rotate through different options each week, fostering a supportive community through a cohort model that encourages accountability. Despite facing challenges, Laura's dedication and advocacy ensured the program's realization, reflecting her commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle for others.