St. Cloud State University’s Director of Esports has received a national award for his contributions at SCSU and the evolving world of esports.
Chase Neukam, who was named the first Director of Esports at SCSU in February, was honored with the Hero Award from The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) at the 2023 NACE National Convention held July 11-13 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The award is intended to recognize a member of leadership within NACE who goes above and beyond to advance the collegiate esports space.
“Winning this award at this point in my career and while in Indiana is a full-circle moment for me,” said Neukam, who grew up in Indiana. “I am privileged and honored to accept the inaugural NACE Hero Award at the 2023 Convention. Since joining the collegiate esports space as an undergraduate student in 2015, I have been nominated for dozens of awards but never once have I been in this position.”
NACE, which formed in 2016, is a nonprofit membership association organized by and on behalf of its over 240 member institutions. NACE members are developing the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate esports in the varsity space while collaborating to lay the groundwork in areas such as eligibility, path to graduation, and competition and scholarships. NACE is the largest member association of varsity esports programs at colleges and universities across the United States and includes over 5,000 student-athletes.
Neukam is leading SCSU Esports with a grassroots approach, seeking to build an authentic culture that aligns with student interest while actively engaging in the esports community. He has worked with students at SCSU who have expressed excitement about esports in many areas that go beyond competitive gaming, including social media, marketing, event planning and broadcasting.
SCSU Esports has continued to level up and evolve with new facilities, leadership and educational offerings to give students the chance to incorporate individual interests and passions into their SCSU experience. Esports fits directly into the University’s “It’s Time” strategic framework, beginning with coaches and staff engaging with students to provide individualized support.
SCSU also continues to extend its regional reach with community events and outreach, including “Best Buy After Dark” events, immersion camps and experiential learning opportunities such as camps for esports management and esports broadcasting being held this summer.