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Athletics Department Hosts Annual Welcome Back Picnic

first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa — Drake University hosted its student-athletes at the 2019-20 Welcome Back Picnic on Sunday inside the Olmsted Center on Drake’s campus. The athletic department hosted the picnic as the culmination of the Bulldog Cup, a competition between Drake athletics teams held throughout the 2018-19 academic year to recognize achievement in competition, classroom, and community. In addition, the athletic department recognized individual awards for the 2018-19 athletics year. Winners are listed below.Wayne Ford was the event’s main speaker. Ford earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Drake University in 1974 in addition to playing on the football team. He went on to serve as an Iowa state representative from 1996 to 2010, representing House District 71 in Des Moines, a district that included Drake University. During his political career, Ford introduced more than 1,400 bills and amendments, including influential first-in-the-nation legislation that requires lawmakers to draft minority impact statements before they can vote on new criminal justice legislation. He also founded and served for 32 years as executive director of Urban Dreams, a nonprofit organization that advocates for improving life in poor and minority neighborhoods. Ford received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Drake University in 2018.Ford attested to how beneficial the student-athlete experience was for him, saying his education enabled him to rise from struggling in Washington D.C.’s inner city to being featured in Dan Rather’s bestselling book, The American Dream. He also challenged the student-athletes in attendance to go out and make their mark on the world. Director of Athletics Brian Hardin and Drake president Marty Martin shared similar messages.Welcome Back Picnic RecognitionBulldog Cup winner — Women’s GolfAcademic Recognition — Sara Rhine (Women’s Basketball) and Linda Fiorito (Women’s Soccer)Dixie Byers Comeback Player of the Year — Alyssa Brand (Women’s Soccer)Male Newcomer of the Year — DJ Wilkins (Men’s Basketball)Female Newcomer of the Year — Lexie Chapman (Women’s Track and Field)Howlett Male Athlete of the Year — Nathan Clayberg (Football)Howlett Female Athlete of the Year — Nicole Newman (Softball)Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more