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Craen Wins Distinguished Service Award from the United States Sports Academy

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Dr. Dirk Craen, right, president of the European University Business School, receives the United States Sports Academy’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award from Academy trustee Thomas R. Cafaro during the recent Awards of Sport program on the Academy campus in Daphne, Ala.

Dr. Dirk Craen, president of the European University Business School, has been presented the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the United States Sports Academy.

Craen was presented the award by Academy trustee Thomas R. Cafaro during the Academy’s recent 32nd annual Awards of Sport program held on the school’s campus in Daphne, Ala.

As part of its annual Awards of Sport program, the Academy presents the Distinguished Service Award to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to national or international sports through instruction, research or service. Those selected for this award must possess an extensive background in sports. This means that the individual must have had significant dealings in either instruction, research or service in sports for more than 10 years.

Under Craen’s leadership, the EU Business School is consistently ranked among the top business schools in Europe. The private, triple-accredited school was established in 1973 and Craen has presided over it since 1998. The school, which has grown substantially under Craen’s leadership, attracts students and instructors from around the world with a passion for business and business education. The school has campuses in Geneva and Montreux, Switzerland; Barcelona, Spain; and Munich, Germany; and has partnered with nearly 70 other institutions worldwide.

Craen previously served as chair of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, and International Relations for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

He has worked with many global business leaders and has mentored several industry frontrunners. His international experience at UNESCO provides him with immense business knowledge, which he has successfully passed on to his students over the years.

Even though he is the president of one of the world’s leading international business schools, Craen comes from humble beginnings. He was born and raised in Belgium, where his father was involved in the business of importing coated abrasives. When he came of age, Craen joined the same field as a salesman.

After finishing college, Craen worked as a salesman and climbed through the ranks until 1977 when he took a position as an adjunct faculty member at the EU Business School. He soon realized his passion for education and later helped to open the school’s Montreux, Switzerland campus in 1985.

Craen continued in a leadership role as the school expanded and in 1998, when existing management sought to sell the school, he was named president. His leadership is credited with giving the school a clear vision and a fresh look at the future, which opened the school not only to the western world but also to parts of Asia.

In 2012, Craen was awarded an honorary professorship position at Rostov State University of Economics in Russia.  He has been presented honorary doctorates from the University of Dallas in Texas and from Limkokwing University in Malaysia. In 2014, Craen was awarded the Order of the Crown in Belgium in recognition of his professional achievements.

The Distinguished Service Award is part of the United States Sports Academy’s Awards of Sport, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” The Academy presents the awards to pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, and Alumni of the Year awards.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

By Eric Mann

Eric Mann is the communications assistant at the United States Sports Academy. Reach him at emann@ussa.edu

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