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Former Syracuse Basketball star Kaleb Joseph speaks at Nazareth University about student mental health

Published March 26, 2024

As the nation’s best college basketball teams countdown to the Final Four, a former star recruit for Syracuse men’s basketball is sharing his important story — how his dream of playing basketball turned into a nightmare, and how he recovered his self-identity and mental health.

Kaleb Joseph was one of the nation's top basketball point guard recruits, playing for his dream school Syracuse University, but the pressure and expectations of college basketball led him down a dark path of anxiety and addiction. He now shares his life story with students. He is speaking at Nazareth University on Tuesday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in the Shults Center Forum. He will also speak at St. John Fisher University on April 3, at 6 p.m. Both talks are free and open to the public.

Raised in a dysfunctional household marked by generational trauma, he found refuge in basketball. In his powerful presentation, Joseph details his journey from pain to purpose, teaching audiences how to manage emotions, lean into vulnerability, build self-awareness, and cultivate a sense of identity. 

As critical mental health needs continue to increase among college students nationwide, Nazareth University is keeping mental health at the forefront of its priorities. Last fall, Nazareth received a $300,000 federal grant to expand its commitment to support students’ mental health and wellness and enhance suicide prevention. 

Joseph’s appearance is part of Nazareth’s Public Health Week with a series of events the first week of April.


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Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.