New matching gift opportunity in support of Augustana Athletics
Posted on December 17, 2014 by Christopher Thrall
New University initiative boosts athletics awards by $1000 per year!
A new initiative at the University of Alberta has been created to invest in our student-athletes at Augustana. The University will offer a 50% match each year for five years for new $2000 awards pledged by donors, thereby creating annual $3000 awards for Viking athletes. The University has fifty, $1000 matches available each year, and the program has the potential to increase award support for our athletes by $750,000 over the next five years.
On hearing about Augustana’s new program, Tyler Bellamy (BA Phys Ed ’09) called up 19 fellow alumni of the Vikings hockey program. He wanted to put together an award in the name of a friend.
“Our former teammate, Shawn Crickard, had passed away in September, and we wanted to do something to honour his memory,” said Bellamy. “I called up a bunch of guys from the team and told them about this award idea.”
“I told the guys that if they put up $100 a year for five years, then Augustana could offer a student athlete a $3000 award every year,” said Bellamy. “Individually, the money isn’t a lot, and we can name it after Shawn. I think he would have liked that – money was always tight when we were students.”
Vikings Athletics have long been a leader in inter-university sports, especially through the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, with several individual athletes and teams earning national recognition. Our student-athletes excel at athletics, maintain high grade point averages in their studies and provide leadership in many aspects of student life. The competition among universities for student-athletes is fierce: these awards will help attract talented prospects to earn an Augustana degree while wearing the Viking red and black.
“The best part about a $3000 award in the name of our friend is that – in combination with the Jimmie Condon [athletic scholarship] – it means a tuition-free year for a student-athlete,” says Bellamy.
Women’s basketball player Talia Dale, second year Psychology student from Warman, Saskatchewan, received the Brett Binder memorial scholarship for $2000 last year and her relief was immediate. “Every dollar you don’t spend on tuition is a dollar you can spend on other expenses,” she says with a smile, “or it means less time at a part-time job while you’re trying to juggle sports and school.” Talia met the donors to the Brett Binder athletic award during the Community Awards Banquet and had a chance to thank them personally. “They really made a difference to my education, and to my dedication to the team,” she explains.
Blaine Gusdal, Vikings Hockey Head Coach and a former Augustana student/athlete, has coached many Vikings players since 2008.
”I understand the importance and true value of the award opportunities presented to our current and future Vikings,” he says. “The continued growth of our Vikings Hockey Program is greatly enhanced by support through this new matching gift opportunity and the development of the Shawn Crickard Award. These awards not only benefit the student-athlete through the financial assistance that they offer, but they also build upon the strong history, tradition and reputation of Vikings Hockey. Many fine athletes have worn the Vikings uniform in the past and these matching awards will ensure many more fine student athletes will do so in the future.”
“This kind of support opens up a world of opportunities in support of our student athletes,” says Augustana’s Dean Dr. Allen Berger. “We look forward to welcoming former athletes who wish to create an award themselves or want to help organize their former teammates to jointly fund an award, perhaps in the name of their team: for example, the Vikings Women’s Basketball Team of ’96 Award, or the ’89 Cross-Country Ski Team Award. All it takes is a commitment of $2000 per year for five years, from an individual or a group, and the award will automatically be increased by another $1000!”
Help Augustana attract the best and brightest to our athletics teams. Please consider making a huge impact on a student-athlete’s life by investing in his/her future.
Individuals/groups are invited to pledge $2000 per year for five years to create $3000 annual awards for deserving student-athletes.
It’s up to you! Name the award after yourself, your family, your team, to honour a teammate, your favourite coach or a favourite professor from your time at Augustana.
Create an award on your own, with a friend or as part of a group! If you have ideas about how you might help start these new award opportunities, please contact the Augustana Development Office at 780-679-1131.
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