For star Gryphon athlete Andrew Nixon, balancing athletics and academics comes naturally
Andrew Nixon wears multiple hats as an alumnus of U of G’s Human Resources Management (HRM) program and award-winning Gryphon track star. While his reasons for coming to U of G were rooted in his love for sport and desire to compete at the highest levels, Nixon says his experience as a Gryphon “measures far more than just in medals.”
Name: Andrew Nixon
Hometown: Thunder Bay, ON
Major: Human Resources Management
Why did you choose to study business at the University of Guelph?
After starting my commerce degree at Lakehead University, I transferred after first year to the University of Guelph’s HRM program. I knew that I wanted to continue in the commerce stream, and the HRM program’s focus on strategic management and leadership fit in perfectly with my interests.
You’ve certainly had some memorable experiences at U of G. Can you describe a few of them?
Certainly all the successes I’ve enjoyed with my teammates on the Cross-Country and Track & Field team stand out. We’ve had the pleasure of bringing home every title there is to win and set many records along the way. I’ve also been fortunate enough to build great relationships with my professors during my time here; specifically, assisting Dr. Sean Lyons with his research last summer was an invaluable experience. The shenanigans my roommate, Benoit Boulay, and I got up to over the years would certainly be at the top of the list though.
You were recently awarded the President’s Trophy for Student Athlete of the Year. What has your experience as a U of G student athlete been like?
It was an honour to win that award; the athletes here are excellent at their sport and in their programs, which makes for tough competition at the Athletic Banquet. Running for the Gryphons is the pinnacle of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), and the past four years has taken me across the world and given me a second family. The quality of education I’ve received here has been equally as satisfying. Looking back I am very pleased with my decision and feel very proud of the degree that is waiting at the end.
Being a student athlete must be very busy. How did you balance your school and athletic commitments?
The balance actually comes naturally. Being a student athlete means that your day is structured from morning until night between classes, practice and homework. The routine you develop for training as a varsity athlete transfers well to the classroom - you know what you have to do and when you have to do it. I would say that the culture of success that I’ve been surrounded by athletically also motivates me to do well academically; I wouldn’t say I like to lose very much – be it on the track or on a test.
What are your career aspirations? What do you plan to do after graduation?
I’ve dedicated what some might think an inordinate amount of time to running during my time at Guelph, and I would feel unsatisfied with my career if I ended it upon graduation. I plan to stay here and train with the Speed River Track & Field Club as a post-collegiate with aspirations of making future senior national teams. I’d like to see just how far I might go athletically before settling into a professional career. Also, I’ve really enjoyed my studies with College of Business and Economics and I hope to continue them in a master’s program. I’m toying with the idea of a career in academia, and I feel like I might want to stay as a part of a university for a little bit longer.
What advice do you have for other student athletes considering U of G?
Competing as a Gryphon in CIS carries weight. We are a successful institution and the opportunity to represent us is a privilege. Choosing a university that fits you best is what matters, but I can tell you that Guelph is the total package. With the expansion of our athletic facilities, we will only continue to become better at what we do, and being a part of that would not be something to pass up.
If you could sum up your experience at Guelph in three words, what would those words be?
I only need two: Gryphon Dynasty