Northwestern's Ison and Ohio State's Davis Recognized as 2010 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award Recipients

March 2, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS – Northwestern football player Mark Ison and Ohio State diver Chelsea Davis have been named the recipients of the 2010 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award presented by the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership. The award is an annual scholarship recognizing one male and one female Big Ten senior student-athlete pursuing a postgraduate degree for achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and leadership. It is given out in conjunction with the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments.

In recognition of the Big Ten’s leadership in fully integrating athletics into the academic mission of its member institutions, the Indianapolis Community Partnership initiated the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award in 2008 to complement the Big Ten Basketball Tournaments in Indianapolis. Each Big Ten institution was asked to nominate one male and one female student-athlete for 2010, with a $5,000 scholarship awarded to each winner. Ison and Davis will be honored during a presentation at halftime of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament quarterfinal game on Friday, March 12, at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is named for the former Big Ten Conference commissioner who served from 1971-89. While leading the Big Ten, Duke spent much of his time working to improve academic standards and graduation rates for student-athletes.

“We congratulate Mark Ison and Chelsea Davis for earning the 2010 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “In its third year, this award continues to honor a Big Ten student-athlete for success in academics, athletics and leadership. Former Commissioner Duke focused on these principles throughout his tenure and Mark and Chelsea are fitting honorees. We would also like to thank the Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership for continuing to recognize the efforts of Big Ten student-athletes.”

“Mark and Chelsea embody the talent and commitment it takes to succeed as a Big Ten student-athlete,” said Jerry Semler of the Indianapolis Big Ten Local Organizing Committee. “The Wayne Duke Award highlights their achievements in the classroom and points them toward their future endeavors, and we are excited to continue recognizing this caliber of student-athlete for years to come. It is not without outstanding community support that we are able to grant these awards and we thank everyone who made contributions.”

Ison, a computer science major, is expected to graduate from Northwestern later this month. He played wide receiver for the Wildcats for the last four years, contributing tremendous work both on the football field as a member of the scout team and as a vital part of the community.

Ison is a member of several different honor societies, including serving as president of the Golden Key International Honour Society and communication director of the Mortar Board Honor Society. He has also taken part in the Northwestern Graphics Graduate Group and Engineering Design and Communication, where he created an adjustable bowling ramp for students at North Center for Handicapped Children. The native of Powell, Ohio, also serves as an executive officer for Northwestern to Benefit Special Olympics, where he established a Special Olympics Day for all Northwestern sports to recognize Special Olympics athletes.

Davis is a health science major and expects to graduate from Ohio State in June of this year. She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Board and volunteers with the Improving Literacy Program, Next Chapter Book Club and The Ohio State University Hospital. The two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection also serves as an athlete representative for the USA Diving – Site Selection and Rules Committees. She expects to attend Washington University in the fall to study physical therapy.

Davis was an All-America selection in 2008 after capturing the three-meter title at the 2008 NCAA Championships. The Columbus, Ohio, native also finished eighth on the one-meter at the national meet and was named Tri-Diver of the Year. In 2006, she earned All-America honorable mention status and won the three-meter event at the Big Ten Championships. Davis also competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, diving on the three-meter springboard.

The Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award is made possible by donations from local corporations and individuals supporting collegiate student-athletes. The Indianapolis Big Ten Community Partnership is comprised of the State of Indiana, City of Indianapolis, Indiana Sports Corporation, Pacers Sports & Entertainment and the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association.

Conseco Fieldhouse will host the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments through 2012. All-session and single-session tickets to the tournaments can be purchased at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

Previous Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award Recipients:
2009: Drew Ratner, Northwestern, men’s soccer; Lauren Mioton, Purdue, women’s basketball
2008: Kevin Trulock, Indiana, football; Molly Crispell, Penn State, women’s swimming