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National Football Foundation Honors Faculty Athletics Representatives

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today the names of the 16 Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs) who will be honored as part of the 2023 NFF Faculty Salutes Presented by Fidelity Investments®, honoring the significant contributions of faculty athletics representatives across the nation.

As part of the initiative, each school with a member of the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments® receives recognition for their faculty athletics representative, and a $5,000 donation per school (a total of $80,000 this year) from Fidelity is made to support the academic support services for student-athletes at the schools. Including this year’s honorees, the salutes have recognized 184 FARs since the program’s inception, and Fidelity has made a total of $920,000 in donations.

“Honoring the faculty athletics representatives from the schools with NFF National Scholar-Athletes sends a Dan Rogers, Faculty Athletcs Representative and professor of Spanishpowerful message,” 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 across the country.”

The NFF will recognize 16 Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 16 schools with a member of the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments, including (names of the scholar-athletes in parentheses):

  • Benedict College (SC), Melvin Miller (Loobert Denelus, DE, 3.96 GPA)
  • Duke University, Linda Franzoni (DeWayne Carter, DT, 3.47 GPA)
  • Johns Hopkins Univ. (MD), William Smedick (Luke Schuermann, DE, 3.61 GPA)
  • Kansas State University, Shawna Jordan (Cooper Beebe, OL, 3.84 GPA)
  • North Carolina Central Univ., Deborah Fortune (Davius Richard, QB, 3.59 GPA)
  • Penn State University, Dennis Scanlon (Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, 3.45 GPA)
  • The College of the Holy Cross, Sarah Petty (Jacob Dobbs, LB, 3.76 GPA)
  • United States Military Academy, (Ret.) Joseph Hanus (Leo Lowin, LB, 3.92 GPA)
  • University of Georgia, David Shipley (Ladd McConkey, WR, 3.85 GPA)
  • University of Maryland, Bradley Hatfield (Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, 3.61 GPA)
  • University of Michigan, Ketra Armstrong (Zak Zinter, OL, 3.53 GPA)
  • University of Notre Dame, Patricia Bellia (JD Bertrand, LB, 3.62 GPA)
  • University of Oregon, Joshua Gordon (Bo Nix, QB, 3.62 GPA)
  • Wabash College (IN), Dan Rogers (Liam Thompson, QB, 3.87 GPA)
  • Wartburg College (IA), Todd Reiher (Owen Grover, LB, 3.99 GPA)
  • West Virginia University, Robert Gerbo (Zach Frazier, C, 3.88 GPA)

“Faculty athletics representatives continue to play 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 Fidelity Investments in continuing to highlight the contributions of the FARs in ensuring that our nation’s student-athletes succeed on and off the field.”

Fidelity Investments, which also serves as the presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, has taken on a leadership role with the Faculty Salutes as a natural extension of its ongoing support of the scholar-athlete ideal and commitment to higher education nationwide. Launched in 2011 as a partnership between Fidelity and the NFF, the Salutes expand the reach of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards program, which provides $18,000 postgraduate scholarships to college football’s top student-athletes.

Liam Thompson was one of 16 student-athletes named to the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. "We feel privileged to partner with the National Football Foundation another year to honor the faculty athletics representatives who support their school’s scholar-athletes both on the field and in the classroom, empowering them every day to reach their full potential," said Sangeeta Moorjani, head of Tax-Exempt and Retirement Solutions at Fidelity Investments. “Today’s scholar-athletes have a very unique opportunity to study at some of the top higher education institutions in the country while also exceling in their athletic endeavors. With that opportunity comes a unique set of demands for these students. We applaud the faculty athletics representatives being honored this year for helping to guide these student-athletes to success.”

The NFF consulted with the 1A Faculty Athletics Representatives (1A FAR) to design the initiative, and the organizations continue to collaborate on its implementation. In 2015, the 1A FAR presented Fidelity with its “Friend of FAR” Award for its efforts with the program, and the group honored the NFF with the same award in 2016.

“We are pleased to support the National Football Foundation and its programs, which celebrate outstanding football scholar-athletes and the hard work of faculty athletics representatives,” said 1A FAR president Dr. Donald Bruce, Director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee and a professor in the Department of Economics who serves as the Volunteers’ FAR. “The National Football Foundation has joined with Fidelity Investments not only to recognize the work of the FARs at an array of campuses each year, but to support academic services on campuses for student-athletes and to award significant postgraduate scholarships to outstanding football student-athletes.

“These programs emphasize that success as a student-athlete is about more than just athletic accomplishments on the field. Participating in college athletics provides the opportunity for a top-flight education at our nation’s finest institutions of higher education and facilitates the development of unparalleled leadership skills.”

The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards were established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. The NFF has awarded more than $12.6 million to 922 individuals since its inception, including the 2023 honorees. Fidelity Investments has served as the presenting sponsor of the annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class since 2011.

Submitted by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be either a senior player who will complete his final year of eligibility during the 2023 season or be a graduated player who has been enrolled in school at least three (3) years (even if he has remaining eligibility); must have minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale; must have outstanding football ability as a starter/significant contributor; and must have exhibited exemplary leadership on the field, in the classroom and within the community.

In 2023, the NFF has selected 16 of the nation’s best and brightest to each receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the 2023 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Presented by Fidelity Investments. The finalists will all travel to the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Presented by Las Vegas on Dec. 5, where one of them will be named the winner of the 34th Campbell Trophy® as the nation’s top football scholar-athlete and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000. The event will take place at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Past recipients have used their postgraduate scholarships to set the standard for excellence in our society, earning more than 155 medical degrees, 105 law degrees, 80 MBAs and 45 PhDs. Others have used the financial backing to enhance their successful careers in finance, consulting and engineering. Continuing their excellence on the field, more than 260 recipients have played in the NFL with an average career of six seasons or double the length of a typical NFL player. Former honorees include 13 Rhodes Scholars, six Heisman Trophy winners (including two Campbell Trophy® winners), 42 College Football Hall of Fame inductees and eight who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

For more information regarding the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards or the College Football Hall of Fame programs, please visit