Christyn Abaray joined Lawrence University as the Director of Athletics in April 2016, leading the athletics department of 21 intercollegiate teams and a group of more than 30 coaches and other personnel.
In Abaray’s short time at Lawrence, she has influenced much across campus. Abaray has initiated growth of the athletics footprint within the athletics department itself, the greater campus community, and the constituents more broadly, partnering on several fundraising and alumni engagement projects, planning and implementing physical plant projects in the short and long-term, and overall providing the avenue for interconnecting athletics into the university at a deeper and more foundational level. In addition, Abaray has impacted numerous initiatives, conversations and projects with her strategic mindset and institutional perspective.
Abaray had served as Director of Athletics at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, since June 2012 where she oversaw 19 intercollegiate teams and a group of more than 40 coaches and staff. At Buena Vista, an institution of 1,000 students that competes in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, she also served as the university’s Title IX coordinator.
During more than three years at Buena Vista, Abaray oversaw the conversion of multiple internal athletics infrastructural projects and processes, oversaw numerous small physical plant projects within athletics, and led the department through its own strategic planning process. Abaray did several annual presentations and questions/answers sessions on athletics for a number of constituencies, from the Board of Trustees to student organizations, to enhance awareness and transparency. Abaray believes that effective communication and meaningful relationships are key for success, so during her tenure at Buena Vista she worked to build a strong sense of community within the athletics department along with more significant integration of athletics into the larger fabric of the university and greater community. Athletics had more representation on committees and other internal structures of the university as a product of this commitment.
As Buena Vista’s Title IX Coordinator, Abaray propelled the institution forward to become at that time one of the leaders in the region on issues affecting gender and sex by conducting several presentations and facilitating numerous discussions annually for the campus community, the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and others.
Abaray spent nearly eight years working at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania before her stint at Buena Vista. She joined the Swarthmore staff as the Assistant Director of Athletics in August 2004 and was promoted to Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator in 2007. From that point, Abaray supervised in various capacities all sports, coaches and budgets. Abaray also served as the department’s compliance coordinator, was a liaison for the Dean’s Office and the adviser for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Abaray is a graduate of the Women Leaders in College Sports/Hers Institute, the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males and Females, the NCAA Pathway Program, and the Division III Institute. She served as chair of the NCAA Division III Nominating Committee. She was also a member of the Women Leaders in College Sports Legislative and Governance Committee and was a mentor in the NACMA/NACDA Female Mentoring Program. Abaray previously served on the NCAA Division III Membership Committee, the NCAA Division III Women and Ethnic Minority Internship Selection Committee, the NCAA Woman of the Year National Selection Committee and as a facilitator in the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conferences.
A Cincinnati, Ohio, native, Abaray (née Chambers) received a B.A. in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was an NSCAA All-America women’s soccer student-athlete. She was later inducted into the Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame. She also received an M.A. in exercise and sport science (focusing in sport administration) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Abaray also spent a year as an athletics academic coordinator at Miami University (Ohio) assisting student-athletes with academic decisions and instituting different workshops through the CHAMPS/Life Skills program.
Abaray resides in Appleton, Wis., with her husband Chris, son Jackson, and daughter Jade.