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Annual Academic Honors Luncheon Recognizes Golden Bear Achievements

May 7, 2019
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BERKELEY – Student-athletes from across Cal's spectrum of 30 intercollegiate athletic programs gathered at the Field Club in California Memorial Stadium Tuesday to celebrate many of their academic, athletic and community services accomplishments from this past year. Always a highlight of the spring calendar, the annual Academic Honors Luncheon offered awards to the best and brightest of the Golden Bears.

Among the presentations were the Golden Bear Team Award for the highest cumulative GPA among the Cal programs, and it went to the women's swimming and diving team for the second year in a row with a 3.44 GPA. The Bears' women's basketball team also picked up the Big C Most Improved Team GPA honor for the second straight year.

Individually, the Tom Hansen Conference Medal recognizes the top male and female student-athlete at each Pac-12 schools. Cal's recipients for 2018-19 are Andrew Seliskar, who won three NCAA individual titles and was named the National and Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year, and Kristine Anigwe, the women's basketball star who earned National and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors before being selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft.

Toni-Ann Williams from women's gymnastics served as the student-athlete guest speaker and spoke of the many lessons she has learned at Cal, from learning how to change her mindset after injuries to understanding the value of empathy.

"Something else that has stuck with me is the concept of being all-in," Williams said. "Being all-in is not just investing time and energy into something, but also committing every aspect of your life to the goals that we have set out to accomplish – putting our heart into staying invested into our why's, and using our passion and love for what we do to motivate us every day. The scariest part about being all-in is the idea of knowing that we could fail even after giving everything that we have. This idea prompts the question 'what constitutes as failing?' I think that being here at Cal has taught me that the only way we can fail is if we do not go all-in. if we give everything that we have, then we are already winners."

The Academic Honors Luncheon, led by the Athletic Study Center, is sponsored by the Big C Society. In additional to student-athletes, those in attendance included faculty, coaches and staff.

The following is a list of all of the award winners:

Golden Bear Team Award

The Golden Bear Team Award is given to the varsity team with the highest cumulative grade-point average. This year's award goes to the women's swimming & diving team for the second year in a row.

Big C Most Improved Team Award

This award goes to the team that has made the greatest improvement in the last year relative to its historical grade-point average, and for the second straight year it goes to women's basketball.

Tom Hansen Conference Medal

The Tom Hansen Conference Medal is awarded annually at each member institution to that university's outstanding senior male and female student-athletes. The determination is based on the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

Male – Andrew Seliskar (men's swimming & diviNeufeld Scholar-Athlete Awardsng)

Female – Kristine Anigwe (women's basketball)

The Neufeld Scholar-Athlete

The Neufeld Scholar-Athlete Awards are given to the graduating male and female student-athletes with the highest cumulative grade-point averages. The award was established by Cal Hall of Famer William Neufeld Sr. in honor and memory of his son, William Jr., who ran track at Cal before his untimely death in a boating accident.

  • Male – Tyler Brendel (men's track & field)
  • Female – Amy Bilquist (women's swimming)

Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarships

Created to honor outstanding scholar-athletes intending to pursue graduate studies and awarded by each Pac-12 institution, they include a $9,000 stipend for graduate work.

  • Halil Beqaj (men's soccer)
  • Kristen Vredeveld (women's swimming)

Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarships

This award was created through the generosity of Dr. Theodore Geballe to honor his father, Oscar Geballe. It recognizes Oscar Geballe's devotion to Cal and his strong belief in the value of combining scholarship and intercollegiate athletic competition. Since 1981, the Geballe award has helped more than 75 Golden Bears continue their education at the postgraduate level with a $10,000 stipend going to each winner.

  • Ivan Gonzalez (men's track & field)
  • Kourtney Shaw (softball)

Jake Gimbel Prize and Anna Espenschade Award

The Jake Gimbel Prize and Anna Espenschade Award were established in the 1930s and 1987, respectively, to recognize a graduating male and female student-athlete for successful integration of academic and athletic pursuits. The winners of these awards exemplify the true "Golden Bear" spirit.

Male – Collin Morikawa (men's golf)

Female – Toni-Ann Williams (women's gymnastics0

Joseph McDonnell Kavanagh Award

This award, in its sixth year, recognizes the student-athlete who has made exceptional improvement in his or her academic and intellectual pursuits at Cal. The University's motto - Fiat Lux, "Let there be light" - is appropriate for this most academically inspirational athlete award.

Malik McMorris (football/men's track & field)

Walter A. Haas Jr. Community Service Award

The Walter A. Haas Jr. Community Service Award was created to honor Walter A. Haas Jr. for his commitment and service to the University and larger community. This award is given annually to student-athletes for his or her outstanding contribution to community service.

  • Patrick Laird (football)
  • Madison Roberts (lacrosse)
  • Misana Viltz (men's track & field)

Jonathan and Judy Hoff Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year

The Jonathan and Judy Hoff Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year award recognizes a football student-athlete who has dedicated himself to a holistic approach toward academic, athletic and persona development by demonstrating consistent daily routines, persistent community outreach and collaborative leadership ability.

Henry Bazakas 

Student Center Scholar-Athlete of the Year

The ASC Scholar-Athlete of the Week program honors a student-athlete for academic development and achievements developed through practice, study habits, course performance and leadership.

Asha Thomas (women's basketball)

 
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