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Leaving behind a legacy

Asportss one chapter ends for some, another one begins for others. For the UIS athletic program, this past year was a great chapter in UIS history. The 2013 graduating class leaves behind a legacy that will only continue to grow and prosper. But what is the legacy they are leaving behind?

This past year the Prairie Stars proved not only to be successful in sports but also in the classroom. Last fall, 98 student athletes made the honor roll and the academic success rate was at 76 percent for student athletes alone, four points higher than the NCAA Division II average.

UIS Athletic Director Kim Pate, said in a past interview with The Journal, “graduating student athletes is our highest priority and I am pleased that we are consistently performing year to year at the top of the GLVC as well as NCAA Division II in this critical area. I am very proud of the hard work of our coaches and appreciative of the dedicated and supportive faculty at UIS to ensure our student athletes experience a successful path to graduation.”

The women’s soccer team earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America NSCAA Team Academic Award, as well. UIS athletics was recognized as one of only six GLVC schools to rank among the nation’s top NCAA Division II institutions, in terms of academic and athletic success.

Another part of the legacy in which the class of 2013 leaves behind, is their community service efforts. With the athletic program’s motto for this year being “Out Town, Your Team”, it has collectively contributed to over 2,000 community service hours and raising $5,000 for various charities. Baseball alone contributed over 1,000 hours of community service.

According to senior Basketball Player Kyle Gupton the legacy in which his team leaves behind is, “athletically we have achieved a lot by taking a team that hasn’t won very many games, to a team that starts to win a lot of games, and starts to earn a lot of student support, and brings a lot of fans to the games.”

Pate said, “I think overall we’ve made some progress this past year.  It’s obviously not where we want to be but we’re making strides.  Most of our programs have experienced improvement while much of this year has been about laying the foundation for the future.”

The class of 2013 will not only be missed for their athletic abilities, but also for their impact and way in which they represented UIS.

They proudly carried the title of Prairie Star, and will be missed.

Pate had this to say to all the graduating student athletes, “I’m extremely proud of our seniors for the work they’ve put in both in the classroom and on the court or field of play.  As they gear up for the next chapter in their lives, I would remind them that their experiences as a student-athlete have prepared them in a very unique and special way.  They have gained some invaluable skills that many who they’ll encounter have not had this same opportunity to experience (team building, leadership, conflict management, discipline, work ethic, an appreciation for giving back to your community, humility, time management, etc.).”

She continued, “I would tell them that their UIS experience will open many doors and will hold some special memories.  I’d also tell them that they are always welcome back and we wish them the very best!”

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