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Stories of Stevenson: Alex Stoller

Communications Team
news article graphic for Stories of Stevenson featuring Alex Stoller
athletic yearbook photo of Stevenson alum Alex Stoller

No longer are there rakes in the Stevenson weight room. And no longer is the Stevenson weight room a storage area for the grounds crew.

Yep, you read that right…a storage area for the grounds crew.

Alex Stoller, coordinator of the Patriot Wellness Center, graduated from Stevenson just 12 years ago in 2010. But he remembers a much different Stevenson.

“It used to be just the new building and the old building, East and West,” said Stoller, who grew up in a house off of Port Clinton Road that is a four-minute walk from campus. “That was before the ILC existed, before the lunch rooms were remodeled. There was not the East Building extension yet.

“The weight room was still a brick wall on the left side, and it definitely didn’t have the floor to ceiling windows. But I didn’t even get to use the old weight room when I first got here. I was on the football team and the summer before my freshman year, I learned how to lift weights in this storage room for the grounds crew. It was in an area out by the District Office, before that was extended. 

“There were rakes in there, other tools. And we had our weights in there too, because, if I’m not mistaken, a pipe burst in the West Weight Room. That is a pretty funny memory. This place has evolved so much.”

Stevenson is eons removed from rakes in the weight room, and Stoller counts his lucky stars every day that he is here to experience that firsthand. His role at the Patriot Wellness Center gives him access to a brand new and stunningly beautiful 106,000-square foot facility that will help him realize his dream for his beloved alma mater: health and wellness for all Stevenson students.

“I’m extremely humbled by this opportunity. It’s just incredible,” said the 30-year-old Stoller, who went to Penn State before going to graduate school at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He eventually worked as a health and fitness consultant in the Stevenson Athletic Department before recently being hired full-time to lead the Patriot Wellness Center. 

“I feel so lucky to align my passion with a real opportunity to make a real impact,” Stoller said. “The ceiling on how we can impact students and how many students we can impact at the Patriot Wellness Center is non-existent.”

Stoller touches everything at the Patriot Wellness Center ~ from programming to nutrition to wellness activities about sleep and mindset. After majoring in Supply Chain Management at Penn State and working for two years as a business analytics consultant for IBM, he believes that the seismic career shift he made a few years ago was unquestionably the right move.

He went back to school to become a personal trainer and nutrition expert.

“I have always been into lifting weights and being fit. There was one point in college where I was in a bit of a funk psychologically and the one thing that was the most supportive for me was fitness and that was a rock for me,” Stoller said. “A friend would tell me that what I ate mattered, too. That sparked something in me to learn more about nutrition and I started going down the rabbit hole. But I still wasn’t thinking about it as a career possibility because I had gotten that job at IBM. 

“It wasn’t until I started working there and started traveling and doing business analytics that I would see corporations focus almost entirely on how to create efficiencies with technology systems rather than investing in their people.

“I saw that huge disparity in well-being between an employee at a big corporation and what I knew to be possible through what I was learning about health through my own fitness.”

So as Stoller re-educated himself, he eventually started his own health and fitness consulting company, never dreaming he’d one day return to Stevenson.

“It is surreal that I’m back literally in the backyard of the house I grew up in,” Stoller said. “But as I was doing some consulting with the athletic department, the PWC was being built and then the dots just kind of connected.

“I look at it like: ‘Follow your passion, invest in it and work hard. I’m in a great place now with the skills I have to offer and the opportunity presented. It just feels right.”

For Stoller, it feels…like home.