On Thursday, the Big East Conference announced the winner of the Presidents’ Award for the 2016-17 school year, and to the surprise of no one, it went to YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles. The award recognizes the school in the Big East with the best performances by their student athletes in academics and citizenship in addition to success on the various fields of play.
If you’ve been following along closely here at AE, then you know how great Marquette was at winning athletic contests in 2016-17. MU came away with five Big East championships: men’s golf, women’s basketball, women’s outdoor track & field, women’s indoor track and field, and men’s lacrosse. Women’s soccer tacked on a regular season title, and the men’s basketball team and the volleyball team made appearances in the NCAA tournament during last school year. That’s just the team accomplishments and doesn’t even get into all of the many and varied individual honors that the Golden Eagles picked up along the way.
What might not be quite as obvious to you is how Marquette’s athletes performed in the classroom and in the community. Here’s the explanations from the Big East’s press release:
Academics – Of Marquette’s 16 sports, 10 posted a four-year APR average that was either at or above the national average for their respective sport. Marquette’s men’s golf, men’s tennis and women’s cross country teams were each recognized for posting scores in the top 10 percent of their respective sports. Each team posted a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of 1,000.
During the 2016-17 academic year, 195 Golden Eagle student-athletes (62 percent) earned BIG EAST Academic Awards with at least 18 credits and a 3.0 GPA or higher. In the fall semester, 18 student-athletes achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA. Twenty accomplished the feat in the spring semester.
Citizenship –- Marquette student-athletes have taken leadership roles in a host of partnerships between campus organizations and the surrounding urban population in need. They have performed a total of 4,521 hours of community service at 64 locations throughout Milwaukee.
God bless the Big East for writing it all up, but I’m not going to include the long form explanations of MU’s involvements with programs like Race for the Cure, Relay for Life, Campus Kitchens, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the Milwaukee VA hospital, Al’s Run, or the Boys & Girls Club. It’s in the press release if you want the impressive details, but I will include this note on one particular student athlete’s off the field work:
Women’s lacrosse standout Alina Atayan is one of 10 finalists for the Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero Award, presented by the One Love Foundation. One Love’s mission is to end relationship abuse by educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. The award recognizes student-athletes who demonstrate dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship.
It’s one thing to win trophies. It’s another thing to win trophies and succeed in the classroom. It’s an entirely different and incredibly impressive thing to do both of those things AND manage to have a positive impact in the community, and Marquette has been recognized as the best school in the Big East when it comes to those three pillars. Winning this award is right in line with Marquette’s overall mission as a university, so it’s wonderful to see MU be recognized by their peers for their accomplishments.