INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, March 17. MOLLY Crispell, a swimmer from Penn State University, along with Indiana University football player Kevin Trulock, is the 2008 recipient of the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award presented by the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership. The award is an annual scholarship recognizing one male and one female Big Ten senior student-athlete pursuing a postgraduate degree for achievements in academics, athletics, civic service and leadership.
In recognition of the Big Ten's leadership in fully integrating athletics into the academic mission of its member institutions, the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership initiated the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award. Each Big Ten institution was asked to nominate one male and one female student-athlete and for 2008, each award is $2,500. Trulock and Crispell will be honored during a presentation at halftime of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament championship game on Sunday, March 16.
The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is named for the former Big Ten Conference commissioner who served from 1971-89. While leading the Big Ten, Duke spent much of his time working to improve academic standards and graduation rates for student-athletes.
"The Big Ten and its member institutions place great value on athletic and academic success, civic service and leadership," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "Former Commissioner Wayne Duke focused on these principles throughout his tenure and this award is properly named in his honor. We congratulate Kevin and Molly for this tremendous accolade and thank the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership for recognizing the efforts of Big Ten student-athletes."
"Kevin and Molly are incredible examples of the commitment and talent exemplified in Big Ten student-athletes," said Jerry Semler of the Indianapolis Local Organizing Committee. "The Wayne Duke Award appropriately recognizes these two student-athletes for their accomplishments and future aspirations, and we are pleased to present these inaugural awards and look forward to recognizing student-athletes for years to come. These awards are made possible through a tremendous amount of community support and we thank those who have made contributions."
Crispell, a biobehavioral health major with a minor in gerontology in Penn State's Schreyer's Honors College, also boasts a 4.0 grade point average. She is currently in the application process with several dual-degree Master of Medical Science and Master of Public Health programs with an eye toward a career as a physician assistant.
A two-time captain, Crispell has been honored as an ESPN The Magazine second team Academic All-American, Academic All-District Team honoree and Academic All-Big Ten selection. She is a two-time NCAA qualifier and a 2006 and 2007 NCAA Honorable Mention All-American. A member of several honor societies, Crispell was also a part of the 800 freestyle relay team that holds the school record in the event. She has served as an undergraduate research assistant on two occasions and a teaching assistant for the Penn State Department of Nutrition.
The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is made possible by donations from local corporations and individuals supporting collegiate student-athletes. The Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership consists of the State of Indiana, City of Indianapolis, Indiana Sports Corporation, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association.
Special thanks to the Big Ten for contributing this report.