Feb 022012
Authors: Kate Winkle

The Giants and Patriots may be the focus of this year’s Super Bowl, but the true heroine behind the event just happens to be one of our own.

CSU alumna Allison Melangton is the president and CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee, and her four-year-long work preparing the city of Indianapolis for a football invasion will culminate in Sunday’s game.

“Four years is a long time to plan an event. We’ve worked on laying the foundation to put every brick in place, and I’m excited to see the finished product,” Melangton said.

When Melangton graduated from CSU in 1983, she expected to live in Colorado forever. Little did she know that a move to Indianapolis would turn her physical education major into a lifetime of sports event planning leading up to the 2012 Super Bowl XLVI.

In her 25 years of experience, Melangton has directed 100 national and international events for USA Gymnastics, planned numerous events for the Indiana Sports Corporation and worked at seven Olympic games.

“It’s fantastic,” said Beth Etter, the CSU Alumni Association’s Director of Communications. “We’ve had many successful alumni, and Allison is one example of people who have taken their degree to somewhere they want to go.”

Pat Shane, a CSU alumnus, has known Melangton since they competed together on CSU’s Gymnastics team and has worked with her on various USA Gymnastics events.

“Allison is extremely intelligent and well organized,” Shane said in an email to the Collegian. “Her vast event experience made her a logical choice for the Super Bowl position. We spoke about the Super Bowl in August, and she was working tremendously hard at that time.”

Melangton said that her experience and hard work transitions over to all of her ventures, regardless of prestige or subject.

“Event planning is event planning,” she said. “You just change the sport here and there, and I don’t think it’s too difficult.”

Although she directs the logistics of hosting the Super Bowl, Melangton isn’t alone in her endeavors. She has 40 staff members who help coordinate significant community projects, including adding a new street to connect the downtown venues, building an $11 million outdoor “Super Bowl Village” event plaza and building an $11 million youth education and community center.

“The change probably wouldn’t have happened without the Super Bowl,” Melangton said. “Lots of the staff are event professionals, and we’ve built a great team. We’ve put our background and experience together to make a lot of great things.”

Melangton stressed that community involvement in hosting the Super Bowl is key.

Approximately 33,000 greeting cards were made by local elementary school students, and 13,000 scarves were knit by community members to thank the several thousand volunteers and other contributors for their hard work.

At least 1,000 women have supported the Indianapolis Super Bowl–affiliated Super Cure program for breast cancer awareness by donating breast tissue to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank in Indianapolis.

“You have to really get the whole community around the Super Bowl,” said Melangton. “The more involved the community is in the execution, the more they own the event. There’s pride and accountability in executing it.”

The efforts of Melangton, her staff and the city of Indianapolis will come to fruition with the win of a sports team, but will leave a lasting legacy for the community. As for Melangton, it will be time to move on to another project.

“I’m ready to get a little more balance in my life, which will happen pretty quickly. I’ll go back to a regular life, take some time off and then go to London to work on the 2012 Olympics,” she said.

Collegian reporter Kate Winkle can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Jackson Lamb
Lamb graduated from CSU in 1999 with a degree in business administration and is the national volunteer coordinator for Taste of the NFL, a non-profit organization whose fundraiser raises money to fight hunger in America. The event pairs chefs and former players from each NFL city to serve a crowd of 3,000 the day before the Super Bowl.

Al “Bubba” Baker
Baker graduated from CSU with a degree in sociology and was drafted in 1978 into the NFL. Baker played for the Detriot Lions, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cleveland Browns, and the Minnesota Vikings in his professional career. Baker represents the Cleveland Browns as a former player for the Taste of the NFL fundraiser.

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