INDIANAPOLIS – Sade Olatoye of Ohio State University and Scott Piper of Michigan State University have been chosen as this year’s Wayne Duke Award recipients. Each Big Ten institution was asked to nominate one male and one female student for 2020, with a $10,000 scholarship awarded to each winner for achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership.
In recognition of the Big Ten’s leadership in fully integrating athletics into the academic mission of its member institutions, the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership initiated the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award in 2008. Over the past 13 years, the award has contributed nearly $170,000 in scholarships.
“Wayne Duke made an incredible impact on the Big Ten during his life. In the same sense, these student-athletes have made tremendous contributions to their universities and the Big Ten. Their commitment to excellence in the classroom, in their community and in their athletic careers is truly inspiring,” said Jerry Semler, Chair of Wayne Duke Award Selection Committee.
Olatoye, a four-time Big Ten Champion in weight throw and shot put, has helped lead her team to two Big Ten titles. Individually, she was the first woman field performer for Ohio State to receive two Big Ten Athlete of the Championship awards. She is the defending NCAA national champion in the weight throw, as well as one of the top three weight throwers in NCAA history. In addition, she has competed for Team USA at the U-20 World Championships and on the Nigerian Senior National Team. On top of all of her athletic achievements, Olatoye is a health and rehabilitation major with a minor in Spanish. She holds a 3.63 grade point average and plans to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Nigeria. After competing as a professional athlete, she plans to attend graduate or medical school to become an orthopedic physician.
In addition to her achievements in the classroom and on the field, Olatoye has shadowed pediatric physicians and volunteered her time assisting in a surgical intensive care unit. Furthermore, she has volunteered at MLK Day- Pay It Forward, Girls on the Run, and at high school track and field meets. She is currently a student-athlete peer educator, SHEROS community outreach chair, and a sexual violence prevention leader at Ohio State.
Piper, a member of the Michigan State men’s swimming and diving team, holds a 4.0 grade point average while majoring with honors in Biosystems Engineering. His academic achievements include being a member of the Dean’s List, a Scholastic All-American, Academic All-Big Ten, and Michigan State Student-Athlete Academic Gala Highest Honor every semester. Piper’s accomplishments extend beyond the classroom as well. He qualified for the 2020 United States Olympic Trials, received CoSIDA first-team Academic All-America accolades, and named the Michigan State Men’s Swimmer of the Year after breaking three varsity records.
Next year, Piper plans to attend graduate school for a Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering. After completing graduate school, Piper hopes to eventually pursue an MBA. On top of his commitment in the classroom and in the pool, Piper serves as a team leader for the swim team, the Vice President on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, a representative for associated students of Michigan State, and an Honors College Dean’s Ambassador. He has participated in numerous medical design and research projects, as well as completed an internship with an orthopedic solution company.
Olatoye and Piper will be recognized in Indianapolis during the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 14.
“Indiana Sports Corp is humbled to have the opportunity to present the Wayne Duke Scholarship to these outstanding student-athletes,” said Indiana Sports Corp President Ryan Vaughn. “Both of the honorees have demonstrated impressive academic and athletic performance and serve as role models for the youth in their communities.”
The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is named for the late Big Ten Conference commissioner who served from 1971 to 1989. While leading the Big Ten, Duke spent much of his time working to improve academic standards and graduation rates for students competing in conference athletics.
The award is made possible by donations from local corporations and individuals supporting intercollegiate athletics. The Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership is comprised of the State of Indiana, City of Indianapolis, Indiana Sports Corp, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, and Visit Indy.
2020 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award Nominees:
University of Illinois: Vik Budic, Men’s Tennis; Lauren Smitherman, Women’s Soccer
Indiana University: Sean Caulfield, Men’s Soccer; Brenna Wise, Women’s Basketball
University of Iowa: Aaron Meyer, Wrestling; Elizabeth DeShields, Softball
University of Maryland: Travis Valmon, Men’s Basketball/Track and Field; Darby Moore, Women’s Soccer
University of Michigan: Thomas Cope, Men’s Swimming and Diving; Elliot Brooks, Volleyball
Michigan State University: Scott Piper, Men’s Swimming and Diving
University of Minnesota: Jonathan Tharaldsen, Men’s Track and Field; Nicole Albrecht, Women’s Soccer
University of Nebraska: Luke Siedhoff, Men’s Track and Field; Sinclaire Miramontez, Women’s Soccer
Northwestern University: Charles Maxwell, Baseball; Saar De Breij, Women’s Field Hockey
Ohio State University: Kyle Seelig, Men’s Tennis; Sade Olatoye, Women’s Track and Field
Penn State University: Mason Nadeau, Baseball; Jade Rowland, Women’s Fencing
Purdue University: William Schrensky Jr., Men’s Swimming and Diving; Alexa Binckes, Softball
Rutgers University: Kieran Mullins, Men’s Lacrosse; Rebecca Chanin, Women’s Rowing
University of Wisconsin: Cole Martin, Wrestling; Kendall Smith, Women’s Swimming and Diving
Previous Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award Recipients:
2019: Anton Stephenson, Nebraska, Men’s Gymnastics; Olivia Rosendahl, Northwestern, Women’s Swimming and Diving
2018: Chris Weber, Nebraska, Football; Emily Mills, Rutgers, Women’s Golf
2017: Geno Morelli, Penn State, Wrestling; Lindsay Agnew, Ohio State, Women’s Soccer
2016: Cody Rush, Nebraska, Men’s Track and Field; Lindsay Mable, Minnesota, Women’s Gymnastics
2015: Campbell Sode, Rutgers, Men’s Lacrosse; Jessica Plant, Minnesota, Women’s Swimming and Diving
2014: Spencer Long, Nebraska, Football; Emily Wong, Nebraska, Women’s Gymnastics
2013: Sean Fisher, Nebraska, Football; Katelyn White, Nebraska, Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field
2012: Miguel Pineda, Penn State, Men’s Gymnastics; Margaux Farrell, Indiana, Women’s Swimming and Diving
2011: Mike Torchia, Minnesota, Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field; Allie Smith, Purdue, Women’s Swimming and Diving
2010: Mark Ison, Northwestern, Football; Chelsea Davis, Ohio State, Women’s Swimming and Diving
2009: Drew Ratner, Northwestern, Men’s Soccer; Lauren Mioton, Purdue, Women’s Basketball
2008: Kevin Trulock, Indiana, Football; Molly Crispell, Penn State, Women’s Swimming and Diving
About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.
Indiana Sports Corp: Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit IndianaSportsCorp.org.