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Division II Award of Excellence

As part of the Division II community engagement philosophy, the division annually honors institutions in each conference with the Award of Excellence for community engagement efforts.

The Award of Excellence is presented for an activity or event that exemplifies excellence in any of the areas covered by the six attributes of Division II – learning, service, balance, passion, sportsmanship and resourcefulness.

Examples of events the award seeks to acknowledge include activities associated with Division II partner Make-A-Wish, Team IMPACT, military appreciation, community engagement, game environment, student-athlete leadership development and educational programming.

Monetary prizes are given for first ($1,000), second ($750) and third place ($500), and a $500 prize is given to one winner in each of the 24 Division II conferences, as well as one winner representing independent institutions. All prize money is to be used toward future community engagement initiatives.

Bellarmine University won the 2015 award for an effort the athletics department conducted that allowed a young cancer patient to experience a lifelong dream. Patrick McSweeney, a 15-year-old diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2004, suited up and started for the Bellarmine men’s basketball team when it took on Louisville in an exhibition game on November 9 at the KFC Yum! Center.

Lindenwood University won the inaugural Award of Excellence for its efforts to raise money and awareness for the cause of Sterling Thomas, a Lindenwood football player who suffered a serious spinal cord injury in October 2012.

The Award of Excellence began as the Division II Community Engagement Award in 2008, and it was accompanied by a Division II Game Environment Award in 2010. At the 2014 Convention, Division II combined the two awards to allow the division to give larger prizes and prestige to those member conferences or institutions that participated.