Record 626 Scholar-Athletes Honored Monday Night
March 27, 2017


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State Department of Athletics held the 50th-annual Scholar-Athlete Dinner Monday in the Archie M. Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union to honor its student-athletes for their academic and athletic accomplishments. At the event, a record 626 Ohio State Scholar-Athletes were recognized and a number of senior awards were given out. 

The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 103rd anniversary of a very unique tradition - the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Big Ten schools currently feature almost 9,500 student-athletes, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100-plus years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 student-athletes have earned this distinction.

The Ohio State finalists for the Big Ten Medal of Honor are Seth Bearjar (pistol), Christy Blough (volleyball), Jake Martin (gymnastics), Donovan Robertson (track and field) and Nick Schilkey (ice hockey) on the men's side and Lindsay Agnew (soccer), Emma Baranski (synchronized swimming), Elizabeth Davidson (synchronized swimming), Jessica Porvasnik (golf) and Taylor Vargo (swimming) on the women's side.

The winners of the Big Ten Medal of Honor will be announced at the inaugural Scarlet and Graymies April 25.

The Corwin A. Fergus Memorial Award was given to Anna Ralph of the rowing team, Joe Burger of the football team, synchronized swimmer Alexa Aton and Blough of the men's volleyball team.

Fergus scholars are male or female student-athletes who have excelled in athletics, achieved academically (3.00 GPA minimum), demonstrated positive qualities of character and citizenship and shown potential for success in a graduate or professional program. Established in 1967, the award is given in memory of Corwin A. Fergus, a member of the Ohio State football team (1912-14), a graduate of the Ohio State School of Law and later a successful businessman. The award reflects his strong commitment to the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence and his positive contributions to society. The $5,000 postgraduate scholarships, which each are renewable for up to three years, can be utilized for graduate study or professional programs at Ohio State.

Davidson was the recipient of the Pierce Phoenix Award, which is given to a student-athlete who has excelled in academics, athletics and personal growth attained through perseverance and hard work. The award is to be used to attend graduate or professional school at Ohio State, with preference given to someone who intends to enroll in the Fisher College of Business.

In addition to being Fergus scholars, Blough and Ralph were recipients of the Varsity O Scholarship Award. The Varsity O award provides each scholar-athlete with a one-time stipend of $4,000 for postgraduate studies at Ohio State. The ideal candidate maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher during undergraduate studies, earned a varsity letter and performed community service.

Baranski received the Leann Grimes-Davidge Award, which is a tribute to Grimes-Davidge's contributions to athletics at Ohio State. The honor is given annually to a female athlete who reflects Grimes-Davidge's outstanding qualities of athletic performance, scholarship, character, campus or community involvement and leadership. A member of the Ohio State women's tennis team, Grimes-Davidge won four state and Big Ten titles. She graduated from Ohio State summa cum laude and received her master's degree from Miami University where she served as the head women's tennis coach.

Ralph and women's soccer Buckeye Nicole Miyashiro both received the M/I Homes Foundation Award, which has been awarded annually since 1976. The award was one of the first designed specifically to recognize and promote women's achievements in intercollegiate athletics at Ohio State. It provides an outstanding female scholar-athlete $5,000 for postgraduate studies at Ohio State. The award is based on demonstrated athletic and academic success as well as community contributions through involvement in civic or university organizations.

Selections for The Woody and Anne Hayes Scholarship Fund were men's swimmer Joseph Long, Robertson, women's golfer Katja Pogacar and Shelby Hursh of the softball team. The award, established in 1979, provides one or more varsity athletes with financial assistance for postgraduate studies.The recipients of this scholarship are student-athletes who have demonstrated academic achievement (3.00 GPA minimum) and leadership qualities.

Bearjar was honored with The John Dana Cole Fund. This award, established in 1966 by a gift through the Development Fund from John D. Cole, provides a one-time stipend for post-graduate studies at Ohio State. The recipient of this scholarship is a student-athlete who shows the promise of success in his/her chosen field and has demonstrated academic achievement (3.00 GPA minimum).

The men's diving team was honored by Men's Varsity O for having the most improved team grade-point average and the men's tennis team was recognized for having the top team GPA among the men's programs. On the women's side, the diving team earn both the most-improved and the top team GPA among all women's teams.