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Commencement Speaker

Photo of Laursen

Mark Laursen
Clinical Associate Professor in Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Services and Director of Athletic Training Services

Mark Laursen, Clinical Associate Professor in Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Services and Director of Athletic Training Services, has followed the call to serve and help people since he was young. While in high school, Laursen volunteered with the athletic training staff at Warren Wilson College, where his father coached the men’s basketball team. That early exposure to a profession focused on helping others solidified Laursen’s career path.

After graduating from Appalachian State University in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in health education and a minor in athletic training, Laursen went on to receive his master of science from Canisius College in 1986. Laursen has spent the majority of his career teaching and performing athletic training at colleges and universities, including his current roles at Boston University. Laursen enjoys the opportunity to teach, treat patients and oversee a great group of clinicians. He also serves as one of 19 faculty members in residence who live in the dormitories on campus.

At Boston University, Laursen has previously served as Assistant Soccer Coach, Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Athletics Department, On-campus Coordinator of Clinical Education for the Athletic Training program, Athletic Trainer for the men’s basketball team and wrestling team, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Athletic Training. He was also Head Athletic Trainer at Washington College, and was a Clinical Instructor at the University of South Carolina College of Education/Graduate School. At the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Laursen served as the Assistant Athletic Trainer and an Instructor in the Department of Physical Education and Athletics as well as the Peer Educators Training Program.

Laursen has spoken extensively about athletic training practices for the last 30 years at national seminars and conferences. Two of his recent key topics are patient-centered care and independent medical care. “We don’t do medicine to patients anymore, we collaborate with patients to help them reach their goals,” he said.

In terms of professional service, Laursen has served on numerous boards and committees dedicated to athletic training, including serving as President of the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education from 2013-2015. He has also aided high-performing athletes as the Athletic Trainer for the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, the U.S. Figure Skating Challenge Pre-Olympic Trials Competition and the NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament, among other competitions.

Laursen holds two awards in the highest esteem because of the people for whom they are named: the Tim Kerin Award for Excellence given by the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Pete Koehneke Award for Leadership given by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. Laursen received both awards in 2017. The late Kerin was a model of service to others, Laursen said, as he supported members of his Knoxville, Tenn., community who were addicted to drugs. Koehneke was one of Laursen’s mentors in graduate school at Canisius College. He taught Laursen that listening is one of the biggest components to being a good athletic trainer and that the goal is to do the best you can each day. Both humanitarian-centered awards get to the heart of Laursen’s dedication to a profession that is steeped in interpersonal relationships and connections.

“The service is what sustains me,” Laursen said. “I think it is a way to serve my fellow man, to make a difference, to influence and to help people grow.”

Laursen lives in Boston. His wife, Stacy Walker, is an athletic training researcher and professor at Ball State University.