April 16, 2014
At its Scholar Athlete Celebration on Tuesday evening (April 15) at Crisler Center, the University of Michigan Athletic Department recognized varsity student-athletes who have distinguished themselves as leaders both in the classroom and community. University faculty and staff members joined athletics administrators, coaches and staff in honoring the student-athletes.
A total of 447 student-athletes were recognized with U-M Athletic Academic Achievement awards for cumulative grade-point averages and achievements during the 2013 winter, spring and fall semesters. The awards are broken down into categories, but all individuals with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher or two consecutive terms of at least a 3.0 GPA were recognized. Student-athletes with cumulative GPAs between 3.00-3.49 were recognized with Honors, those between 3.50-3.74 were recognized with High Honors, and those with a 3.75 and above earned Highest Honors distinction.
Additional individual and team awards were bestowed at the banquet, honoring the achievements of student-athletes in academics, competition and community service:
» Rookie of the Year: Freshman Erin Finn (women’s cross country, track and field) and Adam Coon (wrestling) — Awarded to the top freshman student-athlete who has excelled both academically and athletically.
» Bates/Deskins Award: Junior Zach Hyman (ice hockey) — Awarded annually by the university to a junior student-athlete who excels both academically and athletically. It is named in honor of Percy Bates, U-M professor of education, and Donald Deskins, U-M professor emeritus of urban geography and sociology.
» Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor: Fifth-year senior Jillian Smith (women’s cross country/track and field) and senior John Wojciechowski (men’s swimming) — Awarded annually at each Big Ten Conference institution to one male and one female student-athlete in the graduating class who has demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics.
» Big Ten Conference Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients: Senior/junior David Moore (men’s swimming) and senior Kiley Tobel (women’s track and field) — Awarded to one male and one female student-athlete from each of the Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education in a graduate degree program. The scholarship awarded is $7,500 toward postgraduate studies and is based primarily on academic achievements. Moore plans to continue his studies in mechanical engineering, and Tobel will be pursuing a career as a physician’s assistant.
» Student-Athlete Advisory Council Representative of the Year: Senior Jeff Chu (men’s lacrosse) — One SAAC representative is recognized for his/her work in going above and beyond the call of duty.
» Rachael Townsend Community Service Award: Joe Reynolds (football), Mackenzie Ellis (field hockey), Jordan Morgan (men’s basketball), Gabrielle Gaeta (dance), Chris Heald (wrestling), Andrea Johnson (rowing), Jeff Chu (men’s lacrosse).
» Raeder’s Raiders Spirit Award: Spike Albrecht (men’s basketball) — Presented annually since 2006 by the Letterwinners M Club to student-athlete who positively impacts the team coming off the bench.
» Student-Athlete Advisory Council President Award: Senior Zach Kelch (men’s swimming) — The current SAAC President is recognized for his/her work in running a smooth, successful organization.
» Leaders of Distinction Awards: Senior Connor Jaeger (men’s swimming), senior Rachael Mack (field hockey), senior Shelina Zadorsky (women’s soccer), junior Molly Schaefer (women’s swimming), senior Courtney Beidler (women’s swimming), senior Shaun Bernstein (men’s tennis), junior Alex Spaulding (rowing), junior Kristen Dodge (women’s tennis), senior Erin Cameron (women’s swimming), senior Lindsay Allen (cheerleading) — Awarded to student-athletes who completed the 360 Leadership Academy Program.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Lieutenant Brad Snyder, a Paralympian gold medal swimmer. Lieutenant Synder lost his sight while on duty in Kandahar after stepping on improvised explosive devices laid by the Taliban. Grateful for his life, Snyder is determined not to allow his disability to affect his life and turned to the sport of swimming. One year after this life-altering event, Lieutenant Snyder swam for gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.