University of Oklahoma Recognized for Promoting Scholar-Athlete

As part of the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF will present Oklahoma Faculty Athletics Representative Kelly Damphousse, Ph.D., with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000.

Oklahoma and Damphousse are being recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes as exemplified by 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Gabe Ikard. The presentation will take place April 15 during Oklahoma’s 16th Annual Max Weitzenhoffer Scholar-Athlete Honors Breakfast, which is scheduled for 7:30 - 9 a.m. CT at the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom in the Oklahoma Memorial Union.

“Kelly Damphousse has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at Oklahoma,” 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 Oklahoma have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days in Norman.”

In 2011, the NFF announced, in partnership with Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, 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 annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As part of the initiative, the NFF is presenting each of the faculty representatives with a commemorative plaque and $5,000 from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.

“Dr. Kelly Damphousse is a highly respected academic leader on our campus and we're so very fortunate he chooses to also serve the University of Oklahoma as its Faculty Athletics Representative,” said Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma’s Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Programs & Athletics Director and member of the NFF Board. “In addition to fulfilling his administrative responsibilities with the Faculty Senate, Athletics Council, Big 12 Conference and the NCAA, he always makes time for students and student-athletes alike ensuring their welfare and opportunities to succeed in reaching their goals. We greatly appreciate the National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments honoring scholar-athletes and recognizing the importance of the Faculty Athletics Representative in the overall mission of an intercollegiate athletics program.”

The Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Damphousse has served as a sociology professor at Oklahoma since 1997. Oklahoma’s Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA and the Big 12 since 2012, he works to support the academic progress and success of the university’s student-athletes and helps monitor compliance with NCAA rules and regulations. An avid researcher, he has co-authored three books and has received multiple awards and honors, including the University of Oklahoma’s Kenneth E. Crook Faculty Award, and he was named the school’s President’s Associates Presidential Professor in 2007.

Oklahoma was represented in the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class by Gabe Ikard, who maintained a perfect 4.00 GPA in multidisciplinary studies (biological sciences) while earning All-American honors as a center. Oklahoma’s first-ever three-time Academic All-American, Ikard was named the 2013 Division I Academic All-American of the Year and the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for football. A two-year team captain, the 2013 Walter Camp and AFCA First Team All-American was the anchor of the Sooners’ offensive line and led them to a win over Alabama in the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl. The recipient of both the 2013 Lee Roy Selmon Spirit Award and the Wuerffel Trophy, Ikard still makes time for mission trips and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

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 became the first official sponsor in the 56-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $10.4 million to 787 individuals since its inception.

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