Queen’s Athletics announces Nixon Academic Leadership Award recipients

Image via Queen’s Athletics & Recreation website.

Queen’s Athletics & Recreation has announced the recipients of the 2020-21 Nixon Academic Leadership Award. Laura Yantha, Alex Pipchuk, Azalea Walc, and Rory McEwen were recognized with the award as part of this year’s Academic All-Star celebration.

According to a release from Queen’s University, a total of 502 varsity student-athletes were recognized as Academic All-Stars in 2020-21, having earned at least a 3.5 grade-point average over the past academic year at Queen’s, over 50 per cent of Queen’s student-athletes. The varsity clubs with the highest GPAs were Field Hockey and Triathlon, while the highest GPAs from varsity teams were Men’s Soccer, and Men’s Hockey and Women’s Soccer (tied).

“During a time of unparalleled obstacles to educational, athletic and personal goals, our Academic All-Stars have displayed the commitment and perseverance we have come to admire in our student body that make them fantastic ambassadors for both Queen’s University and our Gaels teams,” said Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney. “Over 50 per cent of our Queen’s student-athletes have earned Academic All-Star recognition this year, a new record for our program, and I’d like to extend my congratulations to each of them on this achievement.”

The full list of Queen’s Academic All-Stars can be found here.

“The spirit of Queen’s University is defined by the initiative and ambition of our students, and it’s an honour to celebrate our Academic All-Stars who embody that spirit and earned their place among the Top Five schools in Canada to receive this recognition. The drive, energy and teamwork displayed by this group to excel in both the Academic and Athletic arenas truly embodies the meaning of Student-Athlete,” said Mark Green, Provost and Vice-Principal. “I would also like to acknowledge and thank our faculties and departments, coaches, academic advisors, Student Wellness Services staff, and the Athletics & Recreation staff who have created the environment that makes it possible for our student-athletes to excel at this level.”

The Nixon Award is given out to the men’s and women’s student-athletes from both varsity teams and clubs who have exemplified achievement in academics, community service and fair play in their sport, according to the release. The university said that these awards are named in honour of Gord and Janet Nixon, two extraordinary benefactors to Athletics & Recreation.

Yantha (Women’s Cross Country, Women’s Track and Field | Arts & Science) and Pipchuk (Men’s Rugby | Graduate Studies) are the recipients from varsity teams while Walc (Triathlon | Graduate Studies) and McEwen (Fencing | Graduate Studies) are the recipients from varsity teams.

“Congratulations to our Nixon Award recipients, and to each and every one of our record 502 Academic All-Stars who have displayed tremendous resiliency during a challenging year that did not allow full participation with their respective teams,” said Leslie Dal Cin, Executive Director, Athletics & Recreation. “Our Nixon Award winners for the 2020-21 season, Azalea, Rory, Laura and Alex, are outstanding student-athletes who have demonstrated the highest level of passion, dedication, academic talent, leadership and citizenship. They are truly inspiring and epitomize what it means to be a student-athlete.”

A full list of Yantha, Pipchuk, Walc and McEwen’s accomplishments and initiatives can be found here.

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