Skip to main content

Online Grad Appreciates His Journey Spanning Three Decades

Daniel Lussier will graduate with an online Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sports Management degree and a Graduate Certificate in Sports and Entertainment Venue Management in December of 2022. While his college career began 30 years ago, it was in the past five years that he figured out what degree he truly wanted to pursue to reach his career goals — and he made it happen!

“Yes, it took me that long to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Lussier said. “Sports and entertainment have been a passion of mine for a long time, and it was like the stars aligned when I discovered this program. Combine that with my 40 year love of the Wolfpack and it was a match made in heaven.”

Lussier credits this program not only for helping him reach his professional goals, but also for fostering personal growth.

This program provided me with a knowledge base I couldn’t have acquired on my own,” he said. “It gave me life skills that I would never gain otherwise. And, I’d like to say that it helped me secure my current position with the Gary Sinise Foundation as the Entertainment Manager.”

Lussier’s Journey

Daniel Lussier in his graduation cap and gown.

For many years, Lussier did not have much time to think about or pursue his true passion due to his family life and previous career. He worked in construction management for almost 20 years while also working part time running his own musical artist and event booking management company.

“I’d like to call it a juggling act rather than a balancing act,” Lussier said. “I would work 50-60 hours per week on average in my full-time construction management job. On top of that, the busy season for the music industry is March to October, meaning I had this additional work load for more than half of the spring and fall semesters. Add to that a family and doubling up on classes for one semester and you have the perfect formula for fitting 30 hours of activities into a 24 hour day!”

Lussier is appreciative of the life and professional experiences he gained while working in the construction industry. However, he felt it wasn’t the best fit for his ambitions.

“The construction industry just wasn’t where my heart was,” Lussier said. “I did some research and found the Masters in Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sports Management degree offered through the NC State Online program. Then, I saw that I could also get the Graduate Certificate in Sport and Entertainment Venue Management. So, I decided to look into what it was going to take to get into these programs. I reached out to [Online Distance and Education Coordinator] Erin Adair to learn more. She was so incredibly helpful throughout my entire educational journey. I enrolled in the Fall of 2020 with a start date in the program of the Spring of 2021. Looking back, it was the best decision I could have made for my education and career advancement.”

Advice About the Program

Lussier wholeheartedly recommends the NC State online program to anyone searching for a degree option that is very flexible. In addition, he found the course content practical, relevant and impactful.

“One of the first classes I took, PRT 512: Sport and Entertainment Venue Management – Operations and Services, was taught by Davin “Dave” Olsen [who passed away on Jan. 30, 2022]. I admired his story and how he became the General Manager of the PNC Arena,” Lussier said. “This class and Olsen’s experiences motivated me to continue to pursue my goal of managing an entertainment venue of my own one day. Then, I took Associate Professor Kyle Bunds’ course PRT 511: Sport and Entertainment Venue Management – Facilities. It gave me the opportunity to interview someone for my final project. Of course, I picked Bobbie Pritchard, the Senior Director of Guest and Event Management at PNC to interview. Especially since that is where I wanted to end up just before landing a GM role at a venue. This interview gave me a ton of insight into the entertainment venue operations world — specifically the event management side. And, this proved to be very important for my current position with the Gary Sinise Foundation.”

He plans to attend the in-person ceremony on Dec. 17 but unfortunately will miss the College of Natural Resources ceremony that afternoon due to some exciting life events. 

“I am leaving for my new home in Nashville the next morning, so we are having a graduation/farewell party after the morning ceremony. Both of these milestones are very important in my life, so it calls for a big party,” added Lussier.

Are you interested in enrolling in the online Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management program? Visit the program page, or check out for a full list of degree and certificate programs.

This post was originally published in DELTA News.