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University of St. Thomas Opens Esports Facility on Campus

University of St. Thomas Houston hosts a grand opening of its esports facility on campus on Aug. 31.

(L to R) Esports team player Anthony Dominguez; VP of Finance Spencer Conroy; Assistant Director and Coach for Esports Justin Pelt; UST President Richard Ludwick; Chief Innovation Officer Beena George; VP of Marketing Jeff Olsen and Director of Development Jeff Doherty help cut the ribbon to the new esports facility at UST/photo credit Brittany Wright, USTGroups of students, faculty, staff, prospective students and community partners toured the futuristic facility that features black painted walls, neon lights and three 70-inch TV screens lined up in a row. Affixed to the back wall is a 6-foot x 6-foot Celt Esports Logo – a Celt lion head mascot with flames for his mane.

The esports facility is equipped with 13 gaming stations, featured with Alienware 240hz Refresh Rate Monitors, an Intel i5 10600k processor, B560 Motherboard, Nvidia RTX 360 Graphics Card and a 16GB DDR4 RGB RAM.

Esports varsity team player, Anthony Dominguez, is a 20-year-old computer science major who transferred to UST from Puerto Rico. As a competitive esports player, he is considering the possibility of entering the esports industry as a professional, after graduation.

Esports team player Anthony Dominguez“After college, I see myself pursuing a future in one of the two fields. Either computer science or esports. As a competitive esports player, I consider myself to be very good. I may consider pursuing gaming as a professional."

This facility sports a lounge area with two couches and multiple chairs. Here, the Celts can relax, prepare, and even study! This same area doubles into a film room putting into use the three jumbo televisions that will allow the team to review previous games and study new strategies. With UST esports scoring a sponsorship with Monster Energy, the Celts will have their own fridge full of Monster Energy drinks and other refreshments.

Recently, UST’s esports varsity team competed in the national Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational held this summer in St. Louis, MO. This national esports tournament featured the top collegiate teams across the country. The Celts placed third in the tournament.

UST is the First Houston University to Launch a Competitive Team and Academic Esports Program

Members of the esports varsity team at grand opening event.Dr. Beena George, Chief Innovation Officer for UST, introduced esports to UST. Esports is considered one of the fasting growing industries in the world to offer students insight into all aspects of the gaming world.

For Justin Pelt, esports coach and assistant director, the academic component of the program offers enormous professional opportunities.

“At the UST Esports program, we teach the fundamentals of the esports industry. UST provides students with the foundational pieces of the industry, the production, the business aspect, and the professional side. That is, the perspective of the players.”

Esports Partnerships

UST teamed up with Mainline GG, an esports platform and media company, to develop academic programming that will give students a competitive advantage to enter the multimillion-dollar world of esports commerce.

Chief Operating Officer of Mainline GG, Kevin Landry, supports the program as an adjunct faculty member teaching in the first esports academic program offered at UST – a minor in Esport Coaching. UST plans to introduce more esports minors in communication and business in the near future.

In attendance were the representatives from Houston Outlaws, an American professional Overwatch esports team based in Houston, Six Foot, an entertainment production company that focuses on the creation of video games and more, and Mainline, GG, a company that makes esports tournament software.

The Outlaws will provide internships for UST students to obtain the first-hand experience in the multi-million-dollar industry.