The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) recently announced that Purdue University North Central has been named a Champions of Character Five Star Institution for the 2012-13 academic year. In earning this distinction, PNC becomes one of only 23 NAIA schools that have earned Champion of Character status since the award was first granted in 2002.
Institutions earning this distinction share the NAIA commitment to high standards and the principle that participation in athletics serves as an integral part of the total education process. The mission of Champions of Character is to restore character values and raise a generation of students who understand and demonstrate in everyday decisions respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. The program is dedicated to the principle that character is a choice and that being a champion is not just about winning, but making good decisions consistently in daily life.
“It is an honor that PNC has again earned this distinction of being a Champions of Character institution,” said Dr. James B Dworkin, PNC chancellor. “At PNC we look to our student-athletes and coaches to be leaders in the classroom, on the athletic field or court and in the community. Earning this award each year since its inception is a clear indication of our commitment to ensuring that our student-athletes succeed in sports, in the classroom and in the world.”
To be considered a Champions of Character institution, schools are reviewed by a team directed by the NAIA vice president for Champions of Character. Institutions must demonstrate how the Champions of Character program is incorporated in the areas of athletic contests, public service projects, established policies related to behavior in practice and game situations, athletic and academic environment and character education. In total, 217 schools were named Five-Star Champions of Character institutions for 2012-13.
In representing the core Champions of Character values off the field, PNC student-athletes performed a number of charitable events in the surrounding communities. Activities included the baseball team assisting with pick-up and delivery of items donated to the victims of the fire in the University Park Apartments in Westville; the softball team ringing the bell for the Salvation Army; the baseball team offering a free clinic for the state Park Little League of Chesterton and Michigan City; the basketball and volleyball teams hosting a clinic for The Courts of Northwest Indiana in Valparaiso and the baseball team participating in the Adopt-a-Highway program on a portion of U.S. 421 near PNC.
In addition, the baseball team committed to a “Give Five” program with each team member required to complete five hours of community service. With 30 players, and each player generally exceeding the five hour minimum, the team donated more than 200 hours to community service in 2012-13.