MACON, Ga. – In the spirit of Building Winners for Life, the Atlantic Sun Conference awarded its inaugural post-graduate scholarship on Tuesday. The winners of the $3,000 scholarships were former Mercer pitcher Mike Narveson and Gardner-Webb’s standout runner, Katherine Warden. The program was created to reward one male and one female student-athlete interested in pursuing graduate studies.
Warden starred in both cross country and track, earning All-Conference honors in track three times and once in cross country. Warden was the 2007 A-Sun champion in the indoor 800m run, following up a third-place finish in the same distance outdoors in 2006. She graduated with a degree in English, compiling a 4.0 GPA in her major field of study and a 3.85 cumulative GPA. She is attending Boston University on a full academic scholarship pursuing a graduate degree in Divinity.
“Katherine has served as a student-athlete role model in both dimensions of her tenure at Gardner-Webb,” GWU Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Dee Hunt said. “The awarding of the first annual A-Sun Post Graduate Scholarship will be very beneficial as she continues to strive toward excellence as a Master of Divinity student at Boston University.”
Narveson majored in biology major while at Mercer. He was twice named to the Atlantic Sun all-academic team. A four-year letterwinner, he tallied 58 appearances on the mound in relief for the Bears. In 84.2 innings of work, he struck out 50 batters in his four years at Mercer.
“The Atlantic Sun post-graduate scholarship recipient is selected by the faculty athletics representatives. In the selection process, we consider a student-athlete’s career goals, records of their academic achievements, civic engagement, as well as their athletic ability,” Dr. Jeff Hugdahl, Mercer Faculty Athletic Representative said. “I am very pleased that Mike was able to demonstrate his outstanding achievements in all of these areas. He was voted number one out of a pool of highly qualified candidates from all of the Atlantic Sun Conference schools.”
Warden and Narveson were selected following a nomination process where each Atlantic Sun institution nominated one female and one male student athlete intent on pursuing graduate studies. Two selection sub-committees, consisting of five Atlantic Sun Faculty Athletics Representatives elected by their peers, one for the male scholarship and one for the female scholarship, selected the finalists. Once the finalists were determined, the applications of the finalists were sent to the entire Atlantic Sun FAR committee. Each Faculty Athletics Representative voted for one female and one male scholarship recipient. The votes were sent to the Chair of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Committee. The winners must use the scholarship by the fall term of the year in which the scholarship is received or must request a deferral from the Atlantic Sun Conference office.
"We initiated this program to honor two A-Sun graduates who will continue their higher education. There are so many success stories in the conference, and this is a way to highlight and support the overall achievement of our student-athletes,” Atlantic Sun Comissioner Ted Gumbart said. “Providing additional scholarship funds for Mike and Katherine is a small gesture compared to the time and commitment our coaches, faculty and administrators have put into the education of our student-athletes, yet it reflects positively on the Atlantic Sun Conference philosophy of Building Winners for Life. On behalf of the membership and all the A-Sun student-athletes, we wish them both the very best in their postgraduate studies."
The Atlantic Sun Conference is a 12-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Gardner-Webb University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.