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WATERBURY, CONN. – Affinity Esports, a trailblazer in esports in the state, today was awarded the prestigious ‘Partner of the Year’ from The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University at a reception held at the Waterbury Country Club. The business school selected Affinity Esports, located in Newtown, Conn., because of their transformative impact on the industry and University students.

“’The ‘Partner of the Year’ award recognizes the pivotal role that Mark and Emily Kilpatrick, co-founders of Affinity Esports, have played in not only creating access but in removing the stigmas with video gaming. The partnership with Affinity has also offered opportunities for Post students to pursue internships and careers in the esports industry within a local, grassroots organization. Mark and Emily’s unwavering commitment to fostering a thriving, inclusive esports community has propelled Affinity to the forefront of this rapidly evolving field,” said Dr. Roger Caramanica, program chair of the Gaming and Esports Management Program at the University.

The Kilpatricks launched Affinity Esports in 2021 to offer gaming for all generations, but with a focus on the young to help parents navigate their children’s passion for gaming within a structured and safe environment. What began as a 500-square-foot gaming studio expanded to a 1,200-square foot space featuring 22 personal computers and streaming stations. At the studio, Affinity Esports offers after-school classes, themed game nights, club teams, and camps focused on game creation and coding, content creation and streaming, and competitive gameplay. This spring, they expanded their reach by launching a mobile esports solution that has allowed them to take their programming on the road to impact more communities across Connecticut.

In their travels around the state, the Kilpatricks have established alliances with parks departments, community organizations, and school districts with the goal of providing information to students and parents on the rapidly evolving esports industry and workforce.

“We are honored and humbled to receive the ‘Partner of the Year’ award,” said Emily Kilpatrick. “This recognition validates our work with Post University and our team’s tireless efforts to elevate the esports experience in Connecticut.”

Mark Kilpatrick explained, “Recognition like this proves we are on the right track and motivates us to continue pushing boundaries for our team and community to provide extraordinary opportunities, education, and unforgettable moments at every turn.”

The Kilpatricks’ innovative spirit and dedication to promoting inclusivity, diversity, and excellence within esports also earned the respect and admiration of the University.

Post University, through its business school, has established other strong partnerships with organizations such as Liberty Bank, Albert Bros., Bristol Health, and Crowe, LLP to produce innovative, customizable programs as well as pathways for student internships and a talent pipeline to career opportunities.

The Partner of the Year award was established three years ago to recognize the organizations that continue to collaborate with The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business in significant ways.