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November 20, 2001 - Aquinas College is one of 31 institutions nationwide initially selected by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a "Champions of Character" institution. The NAIA's recognition award was established last year to encourage institutions to develop a program in which everyone could be committed to the true spirit of competition. More than 370 school are eligible to apply for the designation.

The "Champions of Character" award is evaluated through five core characteristics: respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and servant leadership. Aquinas was one of only two Michigan schools to achieve the recognition. Respect is evaluated through yourself, as well as your opponents, the game, and others associated with the game. Responsibility is examined through the coaches competence and the students accountability. Integrity is establishing an honest relationship that goes beyond telling the truth. Sportsmanship is judged through the character and actions displayed by the teams. Servant leadership is athletes/coaches performing at their best while meeting both personal and group roles.

Terry Bocian, Aquinas athletic director, embraced the recognition, "the core characteristics outlined in this program are values our staff and student-athletes, alike, have been practicing here for many years. We're gratified that the NAIA has taken the lead in recognizing those institutions which have taken the initiative to foster a "Champions Of Character" environment."

The NAIA's principles influence people to act appropriately in order to help achieve an athletic environment that everyone may enjoy. The NAIA developed a pledge form that provides rules that help guide student-athletes personal conduct both on and off the field of competition. The program also requires a pre-game public address announcement asking the spectators, officials, announcers, coaches and players to take the values into consideration.