Former Nittany Lion student-athlete Chima Okoli has been named Penn State’s new representative on the Big Ten Advisory Commission.
A 2011 graduate, Okoli is the associate director of admissions for Penn State Law. He replaces Curtis Johnson on the committee.
The Big Ten Advisory Commission is comprised of one former African-American student-athlete from each member institution. The commission was formed in 1972 and its purpose is to examine and identify academic achievement and quality of student life issues that face African-American student-athletes. It is the only conference-based commission in the NCAA dedicated to addressing diversity and the needs of African-American student-athletes.
“Chima is a great fit for the Advisory Commission and its important mission and we are pleased that he will be Penn State’s representative,” stated Sandy Barbour, Penn State’s vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics. “As someone who has competed and graduated within the past 10 years, Chima can provide excellent perspective on the issues and concerns of students. We know he will be engaging in the committee’s dialogue and will represent Penn State, and our students, very well.”
Okoli earned Penn State degrees in media studies and advertising/public relations, with a minor in labor employment relations, in 2011. He earned his juris doctor degree from the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in May 2017.
“I would like to express my gratitude for being selected to represent Penn State on the Big Ten Advisory Commission,” Okoli said. “I hope to use my position to foster tangible impact across member institutions and beyond. I will work to maintain the traditions of excellence and perseverance of those who occupied this position before me. I would like to thank all who recommended me for this role.”
Okoli was a member of the Nittany Lion football team from 2007 to 2011. He began his career on the defensive line and transitioned to offensive tackle, earning honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors in 2011. He garnered Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2011 and was a leadership member of Penn State’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, which raises funds for families impacted by rare diseases.
Following graduation, Okoli signed with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2012 season. He served as a legal intern in the Circuit Court for Montgomery (Maryland) County before enrolling in law school. While at Catholic, Okoli served as the vice president of the Black Law Students Association at the University and was president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
Okoli joined Penn State Law this past February.