April 22 – Northwestern College senior Nick Olson was one of two individuals to receive the 2010 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Scholar-Athlete Leadership Award. The award, which is given to one male and one female student-athlete from UMAC member-institutions, recognizes graduating seniors who demonstrate a healthy balance by achieving excellence in academics, leadership, and service, while participating in intercollegiate athletics. Maddy Gerber from the University of Minnesota, Morris, was the female award recipient.
The NCAA Division III athlete is unique among intercollegiate athletes because, at Division III institutions, student-athletes receive no financial aid for athletic participation. Such institutions emphasize the overall quality of the educational experience and the successful completion of the student’s academic program; athletic participation is an important part of that educational experience.
The UMAC Scholar-Athlete Award is presented to students who embody what it means to be an NCAA Division III athlete. Through this award, the UMAC recognizes the role athletics plays in developing leaders by rewarding athletes' excellence in the classroom as well as service to the community. The league’s faculty athletic representatives nominate and vote on this honor.
Olson is a member of the men’s golf team at Northwestern. From the tee box to the green, Olson has captained the Eagles golf team the last two seasons and has earned UMAC All-Conference accolades in each of his four years of competition, meaning he has finished as one of the top five golfers at the conference tournament. Olson won medalist honors at the 2010 UMAC finale.
Off the golf course, Olson has won UMAC Academic All-Conference honors in each of the three years he was eligible while being named to Northwestern’s dean’s list with highest honors in 2008 and 2009. He received one of only 100 Culver’s Scholarships given in the nation as a freshman in 2006.
Olson will graduate in May with a degree in accounting and a resume filled with unpaid volunteer experiences including over 50 hours spent with Urban Homeworks, Feed My Starving Children and Impact Lives. Olson’s post-college career will begin at KPMG, one of the world’s most distinguished accounting firms.
Dr. Marie Miller, who chairs the UMAC’s committee of faculty athletics representatives, noted that the voting council was particularly impressed with Olson’s breadth of service with his participation in a wide variety of service projects. The leadership he has taken in both paid and unpaid positions, with extraordinary accomplishment in expanding the parameters of his positions beyond initial expectations, was also intriguing to the committee.
UMAC Commissioner Corey Borchardt noted, “Nick and Maddy are outstanding representatives of the type of student-athletes that participate in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. What is particularly most impressive about these two individuals is the incredible amount of volunteer work they have both completed for charitable causes and organizations in addition to their significant academic and athletic accomplishments.”
“Nick and Maddy will undoubtedly use their undergraduate experiences to propel them into successful careers. The UMAC is proud to have had individuals like them represent the conference both in the competitive setting and in their other pursuits away from intercollegiate athletics.”
For more information about athletics at Northwestern College, go to www.nwceagles.com.