Saint Michael's College Among 28 Finalists for NCAA Division II Award of Excellence

Saint Michael's College Among 28 Finalists for NCAA Division II Award of Excellence

MyNBC Coverage of SMC Athletics and Pride Parade (Sept. 23)

Jackson Stoever '22 Feature Story on SMC Athletics and Pride Parade (Sept. 10)

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Saint Michael's College is among 28 finalists for the 2022 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence, which recognizes initiatives in the past year that exemplify the Division II philosophy, community engagement and student-athlete leadership, as revealed on Monday. Purple Knight student-athletes were specifically lauded for their leadership and involvement in the annual Pride Vermont Parade and Festival in Burlington.

Twenty-six institutions and two conferences comprise the finalist pool, with Saint Michael's one of six at-large selections, having submitted a strong nomination that was not chosen as the finalist in its conference; Saint Anselm College was the Northeast-10 Conference's official nominee.

Saint Michael's student-athletes represented the vast majority of College participants in the Pride Parade down Church Street this past Sept. 5, continuing a tradition that began in 2016, greatly through the work of men's ice hockey alumnus Will Santangeli '20. The sizable contingent of student-athletes was organized this year by women's basketball senior Nicole Anderson (Kittery Point, Maine/Marianapolis Prep) and men's ice hockey senior Brandon Mitchell (North Scituate, R.I./Pomfret School).

"It is important for Saint Michael's Athletics, and our student-athletes, to promote a culture of belonging, diversity and equality," said Mitchell prior to the parade. "Among other social impact initiatives our student-athletes are involved in, this event is another way to demonstrate our support for those in our communities, especially individuals within the Saint Michael's College community."

"As Saint Michael's athletes, we share a responsibility to use our platform to advocate and support marginalized groups within our greater community," added Anderson. "I think it's also important because in doing so, we let our teammates know that we support them, embracing the truest and most authentic versions of themselves."

The Purple Knights and the Saint Michael's Center for Women and Gender, Common Ground and Student Government Association all took part in the parade, as organized by Pride Vermont, which aims to celebrate and support Vermont's LGBTQ+ community of all ages, to educate, and to act as a bridge to create alliances with each other and with the greater community as a whole.

Division II honors its members each year for conducting events that promote student-athletes giving back and serving as leaders within their communities or on their campuses. A committee of athletics administrators determined this year's finalists, and the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) selects the winner, which will be announced at the 2022 NCAA Convention on Jan. 22 during the Division II business session.

Each finalist will receive $500. In addition, the winner takes $2,500, the first runner-up $1,250, and the second runner-up $1,000. All prize money is intended to be used for future SAAC initiatives or community engagement events. View the entire list of finalists here.