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Men's Track & Field

April 29, 2013

Chemistry major Aaron French named 2012-13 University of Dallas 'Scholar-Athlete of the Year'

IRVING, Texas - Sophomore runner Aaron French was honored as the 2012-13 University of Dallas (UD) Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year during a luncheon Monday in the Haggar University Center.

French (Siren, Wis.), a Chemistry major, boasts a 4.0 grade point average (GPA). This mark is the highest among active letter-winning Crusader student-athletes, and he is the 15th recipient of the prestigous award. 

A participant on both the men's cross country and track & field teams, French spoke on the accolade, being a student-athlete and career goals. 

- What does this award mean to you?

"This award means several things to me. In the first place, it is an honor. I am both very excited and very honored to be the scholar-athlete-of-the-year, especially when I realize how many very talented and deserving student-athletes are at UD. Yet, this award also is an affirmation that I have succeeded in giving my best to two central parts of my college life, athletics and academics.

In many respects, President Keefe accurately summed up how I feel about being part of the cross country and track & field teams when he said that we student-athletes compete for the love of the sport. It is not about awards or honors, about recognition or distinction. Being an athlete for me is about competing in a sport that I have come to love and giving it my best because that is what I have to give. The same goes for my education.

My GPA does not reflect a desire on my part to be a star student. It is a 4.0 because I love learning, have always tried to give my best, and God has blessed me with a ready and active mind that has been able to cope with the rigors of the UD curriculum. That being said, this award means more to me than it would have if I had been somehow trying to distinguish myself. The scholar-athlete award is a very great honor and to me symbolizes a recognition of my love and dedication to academics and athletics.

This award is also a motivation for the future. It is easy to convince myself that I am doing well whether or not I really am. However, when a person receives an honor such as this, it is much more meaningful because there can be no possibility for self-deception. Knowing without doubt that you have done well is very motivational. At least for me, it fuels my internal drive.

It is rather like distance racing. When you are standing at the starting line for a race and you look back and see a good race time in your past, you can think to yourself, I succeeded there. I know what that feels like and the pain I need to go through to succeed. Now, here I am ready to start again. If I dig a little bit deeper into myself, maybe I not only can do as well as I did then, but I can do even better."

- What does it mean to be a University of Dallas student-athlete? 

"It is a great feeling to know that when you are competing you are out there representing a school as awesome as UD. The field of competition is one of the greatest places to show school pride and spirit. You also form a special bond with your team. You practice together. You travel and eat together. You sweat and suffer pain together to become better. That binds you in a special way, oftentimes like another family.

Being an athlete forces you to have dedication and discipline so that you can compete well. If you want it to, that same dedication and discipline can roll right over into your academic life. You have your coach and team to help and teach you how to find it. All you then need to do is take what you have found for athletics and apply it to your academics. For me personally, being an athlete has greatly helped me to be a better student."

- After you obtain a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, what are your goals? 

"I love science and always have. Thus, I hope to go on to graduate school and get a doctoral degree in Chemistry. Right now, I am still rather unsure as to the exact field that I want to study because they are all fascinating, but I am definitely interested in energy research.

Our modern world is driven by energy and the more we know about different ways to harness the energy contained around us, the more we will be able to efficiently and safely use it. It is my hope to contribute to man's knowledge of science and make the world a better place for my having lived in it."

Click here to view previous honorees.

About the University of Dallas Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year Award:

The Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year Award was first implemented in 1984 and given to Greg Roper -- a current University of Dallas Associate Professor of English. Since the award's inception, there have been 15 different winners. The award is handed annually to the letter-winning varsity student-athlete with the highest GPA; freshmen are not eligible.