Carson-Newman University recently announced its first annual Eagle Scholars program. The new initiative, which recognizes academic achievements among its student-athletes, is the first program of its kind in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC). Monday night at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Tenn., the institution honored 70 individuals who can call themselves Eagle Scholars.
"Our scholar athletes do a phenomenal job of representing our University both in the classroom and in competition," said Dr. Kina Mallard, Carson-Newman executive vice president and provost. "This new initiative allows Carson-Newman to recognize those athletes who have reached a level of outstanding academic achievement."
Carson-Newman Athletic Director Allen Morgan agrees.
"I think this will be our highest honor that we give to a student-athlete at Carson-Newman," explained Morgan, who will be the keynote speaker at a special August 26 ceremony recognizing this year's 71 Eagle Scholars. "This is an opportunity for us to recognize our student-athletes who came to Carson-Newman as students first."
Student-athletes with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher will begin their season with the "Torch of Knowledge" patch attached to their uniforms. The uniform patch will be worn during all athletic competitions except post-season championship games where NCAA regulations dictate uniformity in all team attire.
"Our vision is that we will become the premiere Christian athletics liberal arts program in the southeastern United States," said Morgan. "For us to do that, we have to win on the field and on the court, and we also have to win in the classroom."
Carson-Newman athletes have a history of academic success. The SAC recognizes all conference athletes with a GPA of 3.30 or higher. Eighty Carson-Newman athletes made the 2012-2013 SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, which represents a 12 percent increase from the previous year.