Release from the National Football Foundation:
DALLAS, March 12, 2012 – As part of the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF today presented Michigan State Faculty Athletics Representative Michael Kasavana with a plaque and the school with a $5,000 check. Michigan State and Kasavana were recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes as exemplified by 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Kirk Cousins.
“Michael Kasvana has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at Michigan State,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting his role in ensuring that the student-athletes at Michigan State have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days in East Lansing.”
In December, the NFF announced, in partnership with Fidelity Investments, that it was expanding its NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program to recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the 16 schools with a member of the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As part of the new initiative, the NFF is presenting each of the faculty representatives with a plaque and a $5,000 check from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.
“Dr. Michael Kasavana has been an integral part of Michigan State University and its Athletics Department, and his passion for student-athletes is shown by how he represents them at the conference and national level,” Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. “Michael cares deeply about protecting the student-athlete experience, and has demonstrated this commitment by leading our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the past 24 years. Personally, I’m thrilled that the National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments are giving us this opportunity to honor and celebrate Michael and his achievements and service. In addition, the funds given on his behalf will be distributed to our Student-Athlete Support Services office to enhance our tutorial program.”
Since 1988, Dr. Kasavana has chaired the MSU Athletic Council as well as led the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. In 2000, he was presented the All-American Football Foundation’s Outstanding Faculty Athletics Representative Award, and in 2009, Kasavana was named recipient of the MSU Alumni Association Honorary Alumnus Award.
Michigan State was represented in the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class by Kirk Cousins, who played quarterback for the Spartans this past season while carrying a 3.68 GPA as a kinesiology major. In 2011, Cousins completed a historic season, becoming Michigan State’s all-time winningest quarterback and the first Spartan quarterback to defeat Michigan three times.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, were established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with post-graduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. The program currently provides each member of the class with an $18,000 scholarship, distributing a total of $300,000 each year to the nation’s top scholar-athletes. In 2011, Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, became the first official sponsor in the 53-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $9.8 million to 756 individuals since its inception.