WPU President Part of U.S. Bid for World University Games

November 17, 2022

William Peace University President Brian C. Ralph was a member of the delegation that traveled to Belgium last week in hopes of bringing the World University Games to North Carolina. 

Twenty-one people traveled to Brussels, Belgium, to present the case for hosting the 2027 Summer World University Games in the U.S. The other finalist was South Korea. 

The Summer World University Games are the world’s second-largest Olympic sports event, second only to the Summer Olympics. They are owned by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), headquartered in Switzerland. FISU decides where each Games will take place. The Games bring more than 10,000 visitors from more than 150 countries.

There are both summer and winter games, each held every other year in the odd year. The 2023 Winter World University Games are hosted by Lake Placid, New York, this winter.

While the FISU Executive Committee ultimately selected South Korea as the host for the 2027 Summer World University Games, members have hinted at the possibility for North Carolina to host in 2029. 

Ralph said it was an honor to be part of the group for such a monumental event. 

“Especially as a university president, I was thrilled to help bid for games that will serve students all over the globe. These international games mean so much for the development of incredible student-athletes. The opportunity to represent WPU, the 18 other host institutions, the State of North Carolina — and  the United States was an awesome honor.” 

Ralph was the only university president in the delegation, which also included Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who sits on the WPU Board of Trustees.

North Carolina Bid Committee Chair Hill Carrow said he was thrilled to invite Ralph. 

“We loved having Brian with us on our team,” Carrow said. “He definitely helped NC bring its A-Game, and he absolutely represented our North Carolina universities with great enthusiasm and class.”

According to the North Carolina Bid Committee website, the bid process began in 2018 with initial communications between the Triangle Sports Commission (TSC) and the United States International University Sports Federation (USIUF). In 2021, the USIUSF selected North Carolina to be their Host Partner in America’s bid for the games. 

The North Carolina Bid Committee presented on Nov. 12, along with the committee from South Korea. North Carolina was a strong contender for the games, with 19 colleges and universities and more than 260,000 college students, in addition to several athletics leadership organizations throughout the region.

Ralph said despite the outcome, he was thrilled with the committee’s presentation. 

“I was proud of the work the committee and delegates put together; we made an outstanding bid for the games,” Ralph said. “Our bid was fundamentally different from the South Korean bid – and of course – I thought ours was beautifully aligned with what FISU was looking for. However, the Board ultimately more strongly supported the South Korean bid. I didn’t know how much I wanted to win it until we didn’t. It was a challenging moment and afternoon for all of us.”

Ralph credited Carrow’s efforts for an excellent presentation and the possibility of hosting in 2029.  

“Hill deserves incredible recognition for his tireless work to bring these games to the USA, specifically to North Carolina,” Ralph said. “I met some amazing people, formed new relationships near and far, and was honored to speak on behalf of colleges and universities in North Carolina and the U.S.”