hero image
Mark Deppe - UC Irvine. Irvine, CA, US

Mark Deppe Mark Deppe

UCI Esports Director | UC Irvine


Mark Deppe's expertise is at the intersection of video games, esports, education, and industry






Mark Deppe discusses the growth of varsity esports | Esports | ESPN Do you think you have what it takes to join UCI Esports? UCI esports director Mark Deppe on future of collegiate esports and NCAA | ESPN Esports eSports, the Future of Competition | Mark Deppe | TEDxUCIrvine




Mark led the effort to create the award-winning esports program at UCI. Working closely with student leaders, administrators, faculty, and industry partners, Mark built a business plan that is both cost-neutral to the university and that broadly approaches the world of esports through the five pillars of Competition, Research, Community, Entertainment, and Careers. Mark was selected to serve as the inaugural commissioner for the North American Scholastic Esports Federation, helping connect learning to student interests.

In June 2018, UCI’s League of Legends team won the College League of Legends Championship. In October 2018, UCI’s esports program was awarded “Most Outstanding Collegiate Program” by the esports industry at the Tempest Awards. While at UCI, Mark has coordinated many campus traditions, including helping break Guinness Book World records. Mark has a B.S. in psychobiology from UCLA and an MBA from Cal State Fullerton's Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Public Relations



Video Games

Operations Management

Education (2)

California State University-Fullerton, Mihaylo College of Business and Economics: MBA 2015

Activities and Societies: Phi Beta Delta Honor Society

University of California, Los Angeles: BA, Psychobiology 2005

Activities and Societies: Bruin Woods, Dance Marathon, Student Alumni Association, Club Soccer, Club Rugby

Media Appearances (5)

Twitch Phenom Pokimane Donates $50,000 to Fund UC Irvine Esports Scholarships

Campus Technology  online


"We couldn't be more excited about this generous gift from Pokimane," added Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. "The gaming community contributes so much passion and energy to the world of esports, and we are thrilled to recognize and reward some of the outstanding leaders. I am incredibly thankful for Poki's generosity, and I hope this will inspire other successful gamers and streamers in the future."

view more

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate scholarships are now a thing, thanks to a US university

GamesRadar+  online


"We are fortunate to be able to offer scholarships to League of Legends and Overwatch players. When a donor emerged with a desire to support one of his favorite games, we knew this was something we had to pursue to create more opportunities for the ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ student gaming community," says Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports.

view more

ESPN to Debut Good Game: UC Irvine Tuesday, May 21 on ESPN2

ESPN Press Room  online


Episode 2: The team is honored by the Anaheim Ducks before its critical conference semifinal match-up. UC Irvine Esports Director Mark Deppe faces tough questions from members of Congress about collegiate gaming, and chaos breaks out minutes before the Western Conference semifinals.

view more

Head of esports scholarship program is bullish on competitive gaming, but not with games like NBA 2K

CNBC  online


When Mark Deppe, the acting director for University of California, Irvine’s esports program, thinks of esports, he doesn’t think of traditional sports games like NBA 2K.

view more

UC Irvine debuts the first public college esports arena in the US

Engadget  online


"Esports is the future of competition. Period," UCI's Acting Director of Esports Mark Deppe says. "It transcends language, geography, race, age, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability and many other identities. In five years many more schools will official programs and more structure will be in place to regulate and provide guidance to schools. Esports also has a huge opportunity to learn from the successes and shortcomings of traditional sports and provide a model for collegiate competition in the 21st century."

view more

Articles (1)

Diversity and Inclusion in Esports Programs in Higher Education: Leading by Example at UCI

International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS)

Khaila Amazan-Hall (University of California, Irvine, USA), Jen Jen Chen (University of California, Irvine, USA), Kathy Chiang (University of California, Irvine, USA), Amanda L. L. Cullen (University of California, Irvine, USA), Mark Deppe (University of California, Irvine, USA), Edgar Dormitorio (University of California, Irvine, USA), Doug Haynes (University of California, Irvine, USA), Jessica Kernan (University of California, Irvine, USA), Kirsten Quanbeck (University of California, Irvine, USA), Morgan Romine (AnyKey, Irvine, USA), Bonnie Ruberg (University of California, Irvine, USA), Jenny Song (University of California, Irvine, USA), Judith Stepan-Norris (University of California, Irvine, USA), Constance Steinkuehler (University of California, Irvine, USA) and Aaron Trammell (University of California, Irvine, USA)

2018 The last 2 years have witnessed a tremendous rise in esports in the US and, with it, a growing concern about the lack of diversity and its underlying probable cause: toxicity toward women and minorities. The popularity of this new pastime among undergraduates has skyrocketed and club leagues are quickly transitioning into collegiate sports, leaving universities to rapidly catch up with student demand in order to attract and keep a technologically-adept incoming student body. The University of California, Irvine has become a leader in collegiate esports programs, boasting a centrally located, dedicated esports arena, an active gaming student body (72%), and undergraduate scholarships. The goal is to be a leader not merely on the digital field, however. The goal is to also live up to the long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion across all aspects of campus life. In this article, the authors detail the strategy for accomplishing this. As university esports programs emerge nationwide, so too must campus policies and practices that ensure a welcoming and safe environment for all students.

view more