The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 101st anniversary of a very unique tradition - the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference's most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work." Big Ten schools currently feature almost 9,500 students participating in intercollegiate athletics, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In the 100 years of the Medal of Honor, almost 1,400 students have earned this distinction.
Rau, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., led the Gopher hockey team to four straight regular season conference championships for the first time in the modern era as well as four straight NCAA Tournament berths. The two-time captain and four-year letterwinner totaled 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) as a senior and was named second-team All-Big Ten for the second consecutive year. Rau was also named to the Big Ten Tournament All-Tournament Team as the Gophers won the 2015 Big Ten Tournament Championship, marking just the fourth time in the program's 94-year history that the Maroon & Gold swept the conference regular season and playoff titles.
A second-team All-American as a junior in 2013-14, Rau tallied 40 or more points in each of his four seasons at Minnesota and closed out his college career with 164 points (67 goals, 97 assists) in 160 career games -- 18th all-time at Minnesota in scoring. In his four years with the program, Minnesota led the nation in total wins with 105 and overall winning percentage at .690, while also boasting an NCAA-best 63 wins on home ice and an .801 home winning percentage. A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award in 2015, Rau was a three-time academic all-conference honoree and graduated from the Carlson School of Management with a degree in marketing. Plant, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was a member of the Golden Gophers' 800 freestyle relay team that won the Big Ten Championnship. She is a three-time first-team All-American and has been named to All-Big Ten first and second teams during her career.
Out of the pool, Plant is a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, a two-time Academic All-American, and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. She received the Big Ten's Wayne Duke Scholarship award and was announced as one of the University of Minnesota's recipients of the Big Ten Conference postgraduate scholarship. She is finishing her final undergraduate academic semester with a 4.0 GPA in coursework toward her art history and classical civilizations degrees. Plant plans to pursue graduate work in art history and archaeology.