UNC honored outstanding student-athletes Wednesday at its first annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Luncheon. A group of about 200 students, faculty, coaches and staff members gathered at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on campus for the event.
The highlight of the luncheon was the recognition of the Top Ten Scholar-Athletes, the five male and five female graduating seniors with the highest cumulative grade point averages. After receiving a trophy, each honoree spoke for a few minutes about his or her time at UNC, and many gave advice to the younger student-athletes in attendance. Additionally, each of the 10 invited to the luncheon a faculty member who has had an impact on him or her.
The inaugural Top Ten Scholar-Athletes, along with sport, major and faculty member invited, are:
Women's Fencing, Majoring in Exercise & Sport Science and Journalism & Mass Communication
Faculty member invited: Coyte Cooper, Exercise & Sport Science
Women's Lacrosse, Majoring in Political Science and Journalism & Mass Communication
Faculty member invited: Napoleon Byars, Journalism & Mass Communication
Gymnastics, Majoring in Business Administration and Exercise & Sport Science
Faculty member invited: Sherry Salyer, Exercise & Sport Science
Gymnastics, Majoring in Business Administration
Faculty member invited: Greg Hohn, Kenan-Flagler Business School
Women's Soccer, Majoring in Health Policy and Management
Faculty member invited: Melanie Studer, Health Policy and Management
Men's Fencing, Majoring in Business Administration
Faculty member invited: Chip Snively, Kenan Flagler Business School
Men's Lacrosse, Majoring in Business Administration and History
Faculty member invited: Chip Snively, Kenan-Flagler Business School
Men's Tennis, Majoring in Biology
Faculty member invited: Gidi Shemer, Biology
Men's Soccer, Majoring in Business Administration
Faculty member invited: Mustafa Gültekin, Kenan-Flagler Business School
Men's Fencing, Majoring in Economics and Political Science
Faculty member invited: Anna Bassi, Political Science
Many of those in attendance were honored as Tar Heel Scholar-Athletes, student-athletes who earned a 3.2 or better GPA in both the fall 2013 and spring 2013 semesters. A total of 186 Tar Heels earned that distinction, bestowed for the first time and slated to become an annually-awarded honor.
Also honored were members of the 4.0 Club, those who earned straight A's in the spring or fall semesters of 2013. Seven student-athletes were recognized for earning perfect grades in both semesters. They are: Kacie Albert, women's fencing; Kristin Aloi, gymnastics; Jonathan Campbell, men's soccer; Abby Fisher, women's swimming & diving; Michelle Ikoma, gymnastics; Loren Shealy, field hockey; and Elly Wagner, softball.
Those who earned a 4.0 in either the spring or the fall are: Alex Bales, football; Ian Dibble, football; Meghan Drake, field hockey; Meredith Hoover, women's swimming & diving; Meredith Magjuka, gymnastics; Kevin March, men's fencing; Allie Martin, novice rowing; Kelly McFarlane, women's soccer; Katie McKay, women's swimming & diving; Richard Miller, men's cross country; Paige Neuenfeldt, volleyball; Janell Sargent, gymnastics; Michael Steinbacher, football; Julie Swaim, women's cross country; and Carly Wooten, women's fencing
Also recognized were those who have earned various honors in the past year, including NCAA Elite 89 Award, ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Academic All-America, Academic All-District, Athletic Director's Scholar-Athletes, All-ACC Academic Teams, ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarship and Phi Beta Kappa induction.
Provost James W. Dean offered a few words to open the program, speaking of his own student-athlete experience. Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham spoke at the end of the program, wrapping up the first-year event with congratulations for the student-athletes.
All agreed that the luncheon was a success.
"The most powerful portion of the event was when the senior scholar-athletes shared how their faculty inspired them and they identified their most valuable academic experiences at UNC," said Dr. Michelle Brown, Director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes. "This event is all about celebrating student-athletes' academic successes, and we're very happy with the inaugural banquet."