NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – A Bethel College student has been awarded the 2015 A.O. Duer Scholarship by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Lucas DuPriest, a senior from Fort Collins, Colorado, and Fjaras, Sweden, received official notification of the award Sept. 15 from the NAIA.
The scholarship is named in honor of former NAIA secretary A.O. Duer’s 26 years of service to the organization. It has been presented since 1967 to one female and one male junior student-athlete, selected from all member institutions. The award is based on excellence in scholarship, character, citizenship and playing ability.
Nominations are made by the college or university’s Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR), in Bethel’s case Merle Schlabaugh, professor of German, who nominated DuPriest at the end of the last school year.
In his nomination letter, Schlabaugh called DuPriest “the type of individual every coach and faculty member would like to have on their team or in their class.”
DuPriest is in his fourth year – his third as a starter – on the Bethel men’s soccer team, where he has been a key defensive player and served as captain last year. He was honored as both a Daktronics-NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete and a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Champion of Character for 2015–16.
“Lucas has an exceptional ability to balance extracurricular activities with his course work,” said Brennan Peacock, who coached DuPriest for three years. “He not only helped his teammates on the field but in the classroom as well.
“He would come to our study hall sessions to tutor his teammates who were struggling … all while maintaining over a 3.9 GPA. He truly cared about his teammates and wanted to get the best out of them.”
DuPriest, a history major who is also completing a minor in peace, justice and conflict studies, was a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions for two years as well as a student assistant in the history department and at the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR).
Last spring, admissions staff named DuPriest “Ambassador of the Year.” Schlabaugh noted that DuPriest “was always a fine representative of the college, and willing to serve at very short notice.”
Kip Wedel, associate professor of history and peace studies, said in his letter of reference, “Two of the qualities that impress me most about Lucas are his patience with and empathy for others. He understands himself as part of a larger, interdependent human community – traditional hallmarks of strong character and conscientious citizenship.”
Wedel added, “Even before I knew about his international background, I identified Lucas as a global thinker and potential leader.” He noted that the department faculty’s trust in DuPriest has grown to the extent of calling on him to tutor first-year students, proctor exams and assist with archival research.
DuPriest is “a respected member of our college community, a valued member of our men’s soccer team, and a genuinely caring and compassionate individual,” wrote Dan Quinlin, professor of languages, and DuPriest’s Liberal Education Adviser in his freshman year.
“I’m honored to win this award, and I have my professors, coaches, teammates and friends to thank for it,” DuPriest said. “I owe this award to the community here at Bethel College.
“Winning an award is always special, and winning the A.O. Duer Scholarship is obviously especially significant. The award will be extremely valuable as I complete my senior year.”
In addition to recognition, NAIA special scholarships carry a financial award of $1,000.