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UST Earns NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Designation
The University of St. Thomas was selected as a Five Star Champions of Character by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for the 2010-2011 academic year. UST is among 208 colleges and universities and 21 conferences to be recognized with the Champions of Character Five Star Award. Though UST has been named a Champion of Character Institution four times, this is the first time NAIA has bestowed the additional “Five Star” designation to its member institutions.

To receive the award members scored 60 or more points on the NAIA Champions of Character Scorecard. Conferences named to the list had at least 60 percent of its member schools making the grade with 60 or more points.

NAIA developed the Champions of Character program in an effort to instill an understanding of character values in sport. The program is dedicated to the principle that character is a choice and that being a champion is not just about winning, but making good decisions consistently in daily life.

The Scorecard process is based on the NAIA’s flagship program Champions of Character, which emphasizes the five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. The Scorecard introduces measurable goals to monitor progress towards advancing character-driven intercollegiate athletics. The initiative supports performance-driven athletics while defining expectations and standards that drive successful teams and athletics departments.

Institutions were measured based on a demonstrated commitment to Champions of Character and earned points in each of the following categories: character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion. Institutions earned points based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by obtaining zero ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.

UST student-athletes and athletic staff have volunteered for numerous events and trainings which have garnered recognition from the Champions of Character program including character-driven coaching training; Dig Pink Volleyball matches benefiting breast cancer research; youth camps for basketball, volleyball and soccer; President’s Day of Service; first aid and CPR training, freshman orientation and residence hall move-in; all-campus leadership banquet and the Veterans Day celebration.

“It is an honor to be a named among of the Champions of Character Five-Star institutions.” said UST Athletic Director Todd Smith. “As the University of St. Thomas strives to educate leaders of faith and character, the Athletic Department and our student-athletes make every effort to exemplify the principles represented by the Champions of Character program.”

In 2006, UST became an independent member of the NAIA and introduced its first varsity women’s volleyball team. In 2007, men’s soccer was added to the roster, followed by men’s basketball which joined the UST athletic department in 2009. The University is planning to introduce women’s basketball in 2011-2012.

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