Carolyn Draayer Awarded NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship

Posted on May 12th, 2015 by

Carolyn Draayer becomes the 36th Gustavus student-athlete to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Photo courtesy of Dan Coquyt '14.

Indianapolis – The National Collegiate Athletic Association has announced its 2015 winter sports postgraduate scholarship winners. Among the list of 29 male and 29 female winter sports student-athlete recipients was senior women’s hockey player Carolyn Draayer (Deephaven, Minn.).

To qualify, student-athletes must excel academically and athletically, be in their final year of eligibility and plan to pursue graduate study.  Student-athletes must also maintain at least a 3.2 grade-point average and be nominated by their institution’s faculty athletics representative.  Created in 1964, NCAA postgraduate scholarships promote and encourage education by rewarding the Association’s most accomplished student-athletes.

Carolyn Draayer is the 36th Gustavus student-athlete to receive an NCAA postgraduate scholarship since football player James Goodwin became the first in 1974.

The epitome of a Gustie and the embodiment of the Division III philosophy, Draayer was a standout talent on the ice, a brilliant and hard working student, and a true ambassador for Gustavus and its community.

As a center on Head Coach Mike Carrol’s squad, Draayer played in 111-of-113 career games and scored 81 points off 52 goals and 29 assists. A two-time all-conference performer, she ranks ninth in Gustavus women’s hockey history in goals, fifth in power play goals (18), and 21st in points. The Gusties went a combined 87-19-7 overall and 63-7-2 in the MIAC over Draayer’s four-year career, winning three MIAC Championships, two MIAC Playoff titles, and making two trips to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four.

Carolyn Draayer is a two-time All-Conference honoree with a near-perfect 3.97 GPA in communication studies.

Carolyn Draayer is a two-time All-Conference honoree with a 3.97 GPA in communication studies.

“Carolyn’s impact on the Gustavus women’s hockey program will be felt for years to come,” said Mike Carroll.  “She has served as a captain for two years, which speaks volumes about her personality and leadership qualities.  Her work ethic both on the ice and in the weight room has allowed her to become such a successful athlete. Whether it is challenging her team to hit the net with every shot, creating competition between the defense and forwards, or holding each of her teammates accountable in every drill, Carolyn makes everyone around her a better player and a better person.”

As a communication studies major with a near perfect cumulative grade point average of 3.97, Draayer has proven her excellence in the classroom. According to Assistant Communications Studies Professor Pamela Conners, who serves as her academic advisor, Carolyn is much more than a great GPA. “She elevates classroom discussion with thought-provoking comments and probing questions, said Conners. “In assignments, she seeks out the greater challenge in pursuit of greater understanding. And she pushes us all to think more deeply about the implications of our ideas for the world around us.  Her passion for learning is inspiring.”

Thanks to the combination of top class athletic and academic ability, Draayer has received several honors and distinctions over the course of her career. She was bestowed the Elite 89 Award at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Hockey Frozen Four, the Elite 22 Award at the 2014 MIAC Playoff Championship, and earned a place on the 2013-14 CoSIDA Academic All-America At-Large Team. She is also a three-time Academic All-Conference honoree, a three-time American Women’s Hockey Coaches Association All-American Scholar, and a three-year member of the Lambda Pi Eta Honor Fraternity; the National Honor Society of the National Communication Association (NCA).

Professor Conners went on to say that Carolyn’s commitment to using her knowledge and talents to make a difference in the community exemplifies a liberal arts education. “As a communication studies major, she knows how to use her voice to advocate for a more just and happy world.  She is truly a civic leader and I am proud of Carolyn and what she has achieved in her four years at Gustavus. I am excited to see what contributions she makes next.”

The commitment to the Gustavus community that Conners discusses is what separates Carolyn and makes her so unique. Her hard work, dedication, and drive are apparent on the ice, in academia, and in the community. Although she is the type of person who will first and foremost give credit to all those around her, it is Gustavus that has thrived because of her presence and pledge to it.

Tim Kennedy has watched Draayer’s career progress from his time as the College’s Sports Information Director to his present role as Vice President for Marketing and Communications. From covering Carolyn as a student-athlete to working alongside her during an internship with the marketing and communications office, Kennedy sees a person who strives for excellence in everything she does.

“It became evident very early in Carolyn’s time here at Gustavus that she was an exceptional student-athlete who excelled both on and off the ice,” said Kennedy. “She took her expertise in communications and video and applied them to her passions at the Gustavus. She did this in a very impactful way and highlighted not only the women’s hockey program but also the athletics department, the Gustie Greeter program, and campus as a whole.”

Her immersion in the community and passion for service runs as deep as her commitment to her teammates and studies. Draayer is deeply involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, currently serves as Co-President of Gustavus Women in Leadership (GWIL), was a three-year Gustie Greeter, and a volunteer for Relay For Life and the Special Olympics.

Draayer stands alongside head coach Mike Carroll after receiving the NCAA Elite 89 Award.

Draayer stands alongside head coach Mike Carroll after receiving the NCAA Elite 89 Award.

Kennedy continued to say that Draayer’s impact on both the hockey team and the greater campus was immediate. “She is the consummate Gustie who is passionate about learning and competing at a high level. Carolyn exemplifies what Gustavus is all about and will continue to be a great ambassador for the College.”

As discussed above, Draayer’s excellence as a videographer has also been well documented through her work with the Gustavus sports information office, the office of marketing and communication, and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Beginning with a one-minute promotional video for the women’s hockey team, Carolyn continued to challenge herself with new and exciting projects. She is responsible for the Be The Difference Series, A Day In The Life Series, and the MIAC’s Quality Athletics video.

The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually, 87 for men and 87 for women. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes in their final year or intercollegiate athletics competition that excels academically and athletically. The scholarships are one-time, non-renewable grants of $7,500 that can be used for research, books, tuition and other educational expenses at any graduate school.

The NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship was created in 1964 to promote and encourage postgraduate education by rewarding the Association’s most accomplished student-athletes through their participation in NCAA championship and/or emerging sports. Athletics and academic achievements, as well as campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership, are evaluated.  An equitable approach is employed in reviewing each applicant’s nomination form to provide opportunity to all student-athlete nominees to receive the postgraduate award, regardless of sport, division, gender or race.  In maintaining the highest broad-based standards in the selection process, the program aims to reward those individuals whose dedication and effort are reflective of those characteristics necessary to succeed and thrive through postgraduate study in an accredited graduate degree program.

For more information on the NCAA postgraduate scholarship program and to view a complete list of this year’s recipients, please follow the link below.


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