Penn State Altoona recognizes student-athletes at annual honors ceremony

May 17, 2019

ALTOONA, Pa. — Penn State Altoona Athletics held its annual honors ceremony on Sunday, April 28, in the Adler Arena. Administrators, staff, coaches and student-athletes representing the campus’ 14 NCAA Division III teams enjoyed an evening dedicated to recognizing athletes’ accomplishments in their respective sports, as well as in the classroom and community.

The ceremony opened with a welcome and introductory remarks by Penn State Altoona Director of Athletics Brent Baird and Chancellor and Dean Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry.

Next, student-athletes were honored for their achievements in the classroom. Members of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference’s Academic All-Conference Team were recognized, as were the Penn State Altoona men’s golf team and men’s swimming team for being “Peak Performers” who had the highest cumulative team grade-point averages in their respective sports in the AMCC. Additionally, 10 student-athletes were inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the national college athlete honor society. Fourteen more student-athletes received the Fredina M. Ingold Academic Excellence Award for earning a 4.0 semester GPA during their traditional season of competition.

Members of Penn State Altoona’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee were recognized for their advocacy for their fellow student-athletes on campus, as well as for their dedicated volunteer work in the Altoona area community. Student-athletes who were voted to an AMCC All-Conference team for athletic excellence also were honored in front of their peers.

Next was the ceremony’s guest speaker, C. David Kimmel, who conveyed a message of unity and family aimed at the Penn State Altoona student-athletes. Since graduating from Penn State in 1962, Kimmel has been a dedicated servant to Penn State Altoona in a variety of ways, including by establishing the C. David Kimmel Trustee Scholarship, which provides support to Penn State Altoona students studying communications with high financial need.

After an intermission for dinner and dessert, the ceremony proceeded to its team recognition awards. In this segment, each of Penn State Altoona’s head coaches took the stage to give recaps of their respective seasons, as well as to hand out a trio of awards: a Most Valuable Athlete Award, honoring the student-athlete who made the biggest impact on the success of his or her team; a Coaches Award, recognizing the student-athlete who best demonstrates the true spirit of Lion Athletics through hard work, sacrifice and personal improvement; and a Sportsmanship Award, recognizing the student-athlete who has shown the best qualities of sportsmanship.

The Jim Ellis Leadership Award was presented to women’s basketball junior Kaley Strittmatter. The Ellis Award is given in memory of former men’s basketball assistant coach Jim Ellis, who displayed great leadership throughout his time on campus. The Ellis Award is given annually to a student-athlete who demonstrates the values of leadership, caring, civility, honesty, integrity and responsibility.

The evening concluded with the presentation of the Penn State Altoona Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards, which go to student-athletes who demonstrate excellence, both through their athletic and academic accomplishments. The male recipient was baseball junior Catcher Cumming, and the female recipient was senior women’s bowler Nicole Watt.

  • strittmatter award

    Junior women's basketball player Kaley Strittmatter (left) received the Jim Ellis Leadership Award during the 2018-19 Penn State Altoona Intercollegiate Athletics Honors Ceremony. Strittmatter is pictured here with her award, alongside Director of Athletics Brent Baird (right).

    IMAGE: Conner Gilbert
Last Updated May 17, 2019