Recent University of Oklahoma graduates Jessica Vest (softball) and Alec Robin (men’s gymnastics) were among the 20 student-athletes from Big 12 Conference schools who were named recipients of the 2014-15 Dr. Prentice Gautt Postgraduate Scholarship, the league office announced Tuesday.
The scholarships are named in honor of the late Dr. Prentice Gautt, a former Big 12 Conference staff member and student services' pioneer who passed away in March 2005. Gautt, who earned his undergraduate degree from OU in 1960, broke new ground in 1956 as the first African-American football student-athlete at the university under Hall of Fame head coach Bud Wilkinson.
A two-time All-Big Eight Conference football selection and CoSIDA Academic All-American, Gautt played professionally for the Cleveland Browns in 1960 and the St. Louis Cardinals from 1961-67.
The list of all-time recipients of the scholarship has grown to 361 since the inception of the league in 1996-97. Starting in 2002-03, additional funding increased scholarship award winners to two per member institution.
To date the Big 12 has provided more than $2.5 million for postgraduate education. The individual grants began at $2,500 in 1996-97, were raised to $5,000 in 1999 and increased to $6,900 for 2004-05. The awards climbed to $7,500 in 2006-07, moved to $9,000 in 2011-12 and are now at $10,000 since 2013-14.
Vest, a pre-nursing and a multidisciplinary studies major with an emphasis in health and society, recently earned a spot on the competitive Capital One Academic All-America Division I Second Team. She was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team and the Academic All-Big 12 First Team for the third time in her career. Vest, who is coming off her best offensive season (her .375 batting average, 23 runs, 4 home runs, .523 on-base percentage and .813 slugging percentage were all career highs) is planning to attend the OU College of Nursing for an accelerated nursing degree to be followed by a master's of nursing.
Robin finished his OU career as a two-time individual event national champion, claiming 2014 titles on the floor exercise and vault. The Calabasas, Calif., native earned five All-America honors over the course of his career and was a captain on OU’s 2015 NCAA Championship team. Robin will attend dental school this fall at the University of Pennsylvania.
Criteria for the awards include a cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, participation in at least two years of intercollegiate athletics at the nominee's respective institution and completion of athletics eligibility. The student-athletes also must graduate from their respective member institutions within 15 months of their selection for a postgraduate scholarship and are expected to enroll in graduate/professional schools within two years of graduation. Three faculty representatives, one senior woman administrator and one director of athletics form the selection panel for the awards.
/// SoonerSports PR
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