The Franklin & Marshall scholar-athlete profile features one Diplomat per month who personifies what it means to be an NCAA student-athlete. The F&M campus is filled with dedicated, passionate, and talented student-athletes who have interesting stories to tell – and it's our goal to let those stories be heard. To be chosen as a scholar-athlete of the month, F&M student-athletes must demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and community service, or have a noteworthy story that stretches beyond the realm of athletic competition.
To view previous scholar-athletes, click here.
Students at Franklin & Marshall College, upon telling someone that they attend a school in Lancaster, Pa., are almost always asked what it is like to study amongst the Amish. At which point the student will likely sigh and explain that the Amish reside outside of the city, mostly to the south and east, and that Lancaster is a small modern city with a vibrant and diverse population.
The fact is, Franklin & Marshall and Lancaster are inextricably bound to each other. What is good for Lancaster is good for F&M, and vice versa. As a result, it has become central to F&M’s mission that the campus be a launching point for students to do good in the local community, rather than a bubble that exists independently from its surroundings. And while F&M draws students from around the world, those that hail from Lancaster County have a special perspective on the College’s role locally. One of those students is Sarah Haddon.
Haddon, a senior psychology major and member of the women’s basketball team, grew up in nearby Ephrata, just 15 minutes north of Lancaster via Route 222.
“At first, I told my mom I didn’t even want to visit,” said Haddon. “F&M was way too close to home. But after looking into it more and visiting, I loved it and I realized that I lived far enough away that I was in a new place, but close enough that my mom could support me at all of my games, which was really important to both of us.”
Haddon has enjoyed the support of many, in addition to family, since beginning her time at F&M.
“It has always been nice to see people from Ephrata come to watch me play, and it feels like they’ve been with me for my whole basketball career,” she said. “It made me realize how lucky I was to be a student from the community.”
Earning and maintaining that hometown support is part of F&M’s aim to connect with the local area through Diplomat athletics.
“Our team strives to be involved in Lancaster through various service projects and by having youth groups attend our games,” said seventh-year head coach Kirsten Richter, F&M class of 2003. “It’s a special connection back to the community when we have a local player, like Sarah, on our team.”
Haddon, in turn, has given back in abundance. Her impressive record of civic service includes helping to rebuild the Trauma Informed Care Center at the Community Action Program in Lancaster, serving meals to the homeless, participating in the Adopt-a-Family Program during the holiday season, and helping to organize area activities like Lancaster’s Girls on the Run 5K and the Firecracker five-mile run in Ephrata.
“It is important to give back, especially as an athlete, which makes you someone the kids in the community can watch and look up to,” Haddon said. “It’s fun to be able to get involved and show how much you care. There is so much we can do to help others because of the opportunities we have been given at F&M.”
According to Richter, giving back is central to Haddon’s personality.
“Sarah is compelled to be a part of something bigger than herself and make contributions to that end,” said Richter. “It is evident in a team setting, and it carries over to community service.”
It is an inclination that also led Haddon to serve her fellow F&M student-athletes and the local community as co-president of the Student Athletic Leadership Council (SALC). Through SALC, Haddon worked to optimize the experience of F&M’s student-athletes, including organizing the council’s service projects. In early March, she was instrumental in running SALC’s 4L Day, welcoming nearly 80 local high school student-athletes for a day of leadership training on campus.
For all of the time she has given to others, Haddon has not failed to collect a multitude of personal achievements. Academically, she has earned a place on the Dean’s or Honors list each semester, was named to the Centennial Conference (CC) Academic Honor Roll every semester that she was eligible for the award, and is a member of the Psi Chi National Psychology Honor Society. She has also been able to conduct her own research, studying the mental health of registered sex offenders.
On the basketball court, meanwhile, Haddon’s last three seasons saw the Diplomats steadily add to their win total, just missing out on a conference tournament berth this past season. And in her final collegiate game, a 65-61 victory on Senior Day against Swarthmore on Feb. 18, she surpassed 1,000 career points, becoming just the 16th player in program history to reach that milestone.
“I’m really proud of this past basketball season. It showed the value of all the hard work that our team puts in and the building years that we’ve gone through,” Haddon said. “But scoring 1,000 points is up there in my proudest moments, too… I was so overwhelmed with support and love on Senior Day.”
The extended cheers that filled the Mayser Center when she scored that landmark basket were just the first indicator of how many people were glad to see a local student-athlete succeed. As someone that has given so much to the community and nurtured the relationship between F&M and the surrounding area, she can be sure that the support she felt that day will endure for as long as she calls Lancaster County and F&M “home”.