University of Akron student athletes will have access to year-round leadership training and career development and other opportunities thanks to a $1.25 million gift from Keith A. Cline Jr. and his wife, Stephanie L. Cline.

The Clines, who live in Southlake, Texas, and are both graduates of UA, have committed the money to establish and operation the Athletics and Leadership Academy and create an endowment to ensure its continued operations.

The Leadership Academy will be known as the Keith A. Jr. and Stephanie L. Cline Athletics Leadership Academy.

Keith Cline, who was president and CEO of La Quinta lodging from 2016 to 2018, is president and CEO of CorePoint Lodging Inc., a U.S. lodging real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns 310 hotels.

Stephanie Cline has since graduating from UA focused on the couple’s family. She also donates time to several charitable organizations.

The privately funded Leadership Academy “aims to equip student athletes at UA with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve success both during and after their collegiate careers,” UA said in a statement.

The academy, in addition to leadership training and career development, will focus on community engagement and personal enrichment.

Members of UA’s organization of former student athletes, the Varsity “A,” will be asked to serve as mentors to the university’s 500-plus student-athletes.

UA athletics department also will be partnering with academic departments to provide experiential learning and leadership development opportunities for student-athletes.