Aug. 19, 2012
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The student-athletes filed into Moby Arena on Sunday morning expecting a welcome back event like every other year. Little did they know, Athletic Director Jack Graham had plans to take this meeting to a whole new level.
Graham began the event talking about his vision for Colorado State athletics and the enduring success that he expects all the programs to achieve. The expectations are high; regular top 25 appearances, conference championships, NCAA tournament appearances and even national championships.
What may have been even higher though, are Graham’s expectations of the student-athletes as citizens of this community and their work in the classroom.
“Results matter, but this is not a win-at-any-cost environment,” Graham said. “When we talk about recruiting student-athletes, this is the order we look at it in: Number one, they have to be a person of great moral character; number two, they have to be a great student; number three, they are a great athlete.”
Graham showcased just how much he emphasizes the student in student-athlete by creating a new program that recognizes and celebrates students who have earned at least 60 credits at CSU and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75.
In total, seven student-athletes were called down to be recognized in front of their peers and coaches; Kendal Butterfield (softball), Dana Cranston (volleyball), Tara DeMuth (swimming), Tasia DeMuth (swimming), Christian Meyer (men’s track), Hannah Pensack-Rinehart (women’s cross country and track) and Ryan Wasilawski (men’s track).
As part of the recognition program and rewarding their efforts in the classroom, Graham presented each student-athlete with a brand new iPad3, drawing shock and excitement from all of the student-athletes.
“I had no idea,” said Pensack-Rinehart. “At first I thought it was just a joke or something, but when I saw it, it was just such an amazing surprise. It’s a real honor.”
This new recognition program will be an on-going program for CSU athletics and will take place at the beginning of every semester. Several more student-athletes were very close to qualifying for the award this semester.
The presentation was followed by a barbeque for all student-athletes to cap the welcome back event which served as a terrific kickoff for the 2012-13 academic and athletic year.