The National Football Foundation (NFF) announced the names of 15 faculty athletics representatives who will be honored as part of the 2012 NFF Faculty Salute Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, honoring the significant contributions of faculty athletics representatives across the nation. Included among the group of honorees are Nebraska's Josephine Potuto and Northwestern's Robert Gundlach. Both schools produced a 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete - the Cornhuskers' Rex Burkhead and the Wildcats' Patrick Ward.
"For more than 150 years, faculty athletics representatives have played a critical role in the overall educational experience of our country's student-athletes," said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. "We are proud to join with Fidelity to highlight their contributions and pivotal support in ensuring that our nation's student-athletes succeed on and off the field."
Launched in 2011 by Fidelity and the NFF, the initiative is an extension of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program that provides postgraduate scholarships for college football's elite student-athletes. Fidelity, which is also the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, has taken on a leadership role with the initiative as a natural extension of its ongoing support of the scholar-athlete ideal and commitment to higher education nationwide. As part of the initiative, each school with an NFF National Scholar-Athlete receives recognition for their faculty athletics representative, and a $5,000 donation per school ($75,000 total) from Fidelity will be made to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.
"Honoring the faculty athletics representatives from the schools with NFF National Scholar-Athletes makes perfect sense," said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. "There is no group more committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the NFF National Scholar-Athlete success stories provide a natural vehicle for emphasizing the important contributions of the faculty athletics representatives in ensuring a strong connection between the academic and athletic experiences of our nation's student-athletes."