AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Former Auburn swimmers and 2013 graduates Kyle Owens of Johnson City, Tenn., and Stuart Ferguson of Richmond, Va., have been awarded the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, considered one of the highest academic honors a student-athlete can receive.
The award measures success beyond the playing field, encompassing academic accomplishments, campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership. One hundred seventy-four NCAA senior athletes across all sports and divisions are chosen each year and receive a $7,500 grant to pursue post-graduate education.
Owens, a 2013 Auburn University President’s Award winner in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, graduated summa cum laude and will attend the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University later this summer. Ferguson graduated magna cum laude from the College of Liberal Arts and plans to pursue graduate study after he spends a year as a certified whitewater guide in Montana.
Owens and Ferguson, the only Auburn seniors to receive invitations to swim at the NCAA Men’s Championship in Indianapolis this spring, combined for seven All-American honors during the week and 22 during their careers.
“I am very proud of Kyle and Stuart and what they have accomplished at Auburn. As co-captains this past year they were a tremendous asset to the team’s success,” said Brett Hawke, head swimming and diving coach. “Both are student-athletes that Auburn University can be proud to call its own.”
According to Paul Harris, Auburn’s associate director for national prestigious scholarships, Owens and Ferguson are the fourth and fifth NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients from Auburn in the past two years, in addition to three finalists for the NCAA Walter Byers Scholarship during the same time period.
“Their selection is a combination of factors,” Harris said. “They are bright, balanced and hardworking; they have been mentored by caring faculty, coaches and athletics department staff; and they compete at the very highest level in their sport.”
Senior Associate Athletics Director Gary Waters noted, “Both young men were attracted to Auburn for two important reasons: strong academic programs in their areas of interest and our championship Swimming and Diving program. Kyle and Stuart represent the very best of Auburn University and our athletics program.”
(Written by Libby Horton.)