Southern Conference announces Graduate Scholars
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 04/10/2017
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Courtesy: Southern Conference

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its 10 postgraduate scholarship recipients for the 2016-17 academic year Monday. The 10 student-athletes will be honored for their accomplishments at the Southern Conference Honors Dinner in Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Wednesday, May 31.

This year’s honorees include: Dave Hart Graduate Scholarship recipient Nick Colvin (Wofford); Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholarship recipient Anna Allen (Samford); Insurance Office of America Scholarship recipient Javion Lee (Samford); David Knight Graduate Scholarship recipient Jon Vandenberg (Furman); Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholarship recipients Anton Wahrby (Wofford) and Haley Harrington (Samford); William Moore Graduate Scholarship presented by McMillan Pazdan Smith recipient Jared Johnson (Chattanooga); Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship recipients Kristen Favre (ETSU) and Taylor Rodgers (Mercer); and Mike Wood Graduate Scholarship recipient Duncan Fletcher (Furman).

The recipients are nominated by their schools and selected by the Southern Conference Graduate Scholar Committee. The scholarships, worth $2,000 each, are awarded to student-athletes about to receive their undergraduate degrees who intend to pursue advanced degrees in graduate or professional school. The student-athletes are evaluated on academics, athletics and community service.

Nick Colvin, Wofford – Dave Hart Graduate Scholar
Wofford football player Nick Colvin is the 2017 recipient of the Dave Hart Graduate Scholarship. A halfback for the Terriers, Colvin played in 45 of a possible 47 career games. He set a school record in 2015 with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and helped Wofford to a 10-4 record and the FCS quarterfinals in 2016. A three-time member of the Academic All-Southern Conference Team, Colvin was a national semifinalist for the 2016 National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame’s William V. Campbell Trophy, given annually to the top scholar-athlete in the nation. A biology major with a 3.80 GPA, Colvin was also a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 team as a senior this season, earned a spot in the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Hampshire Honor Society and was selected for inclusion in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Colvin is also active in his community, mentoring a local elementary schools, serving as a “buddy” playing baseball with disabled children and coaching basketball with Upward Sports. He is also active on campus, serving as a member of Wofford’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and as an employed peer tutor. Colvin will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry in the fall.

Anna Allen, Samford – Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholar
Samford’s Anna Allen is this year’s recipient of the Dorothy Hicks Graduate Scholarship. A defender and midfielder for the Bulldogs’ women’s soccer team, Allen played in 83 career matches with 79 starts, scoring 19 points on five goals and nine assists. The three-time All-Southern Conference performer and 2014 all-region selection helped Samford to regular-season league titles in each of her final three seasons and was named Most Outstanding Player of the SoCon tournament after leading the Bulldogs to the 2016 title. Allen accrued hundreds of hours of community service throughout her career, notably spending four years as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and serving as Samford’s SAAC co-chair in 2016-17. She also mentored a student at Cornerstone Elementary School and helped organize Christmas parties for the school in each of the last four years. Allen was a volunteer coach with NorthStar Soccer Club and was a fundraiser for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for childhood cancer research; Shauna’s House, an orphanage in the Ukraine; and the Make-a-Wish Foundation through her sorority. An accounting major with a 3.56 GPA, Allen has also excelled in the classroom, as she is a member of the Beta Alpha Psi and Gamma Sigma Alpha honor societies. She will pursue a master’s degree in accountancy at Samford and hopes to someday work for a large accounting firm in an international tax office.

Javion Lee, Samford – Insurance Office of America Scholar
Samford track and field student-athlete Javion Lee is the recipient of the inaugural Insurance Office of America Scholarship. The Bulldog jumper is a three-time SoCon champion, as he won the outdoor triple jump in 2015 and 2016 and the indoor triple jump in 2017, and competed in the 2015 NCAA East Preliminary. Lee was also the runner-up in the SoCon indoor triple jump in 2015 and 2016 and the indoor and outdoor long jump in 2015 and holds school records in both the indoor and outdoor triple jumps. A geography major with a 3.76 GPA, Lee intends to pursue a master’s degree in environmental informatics, a discipline that utilizes marketing, business and sociology to answer environmental concerns. After interning with the Alabama Department of Conservation in fall 2016, Lee attended the Southeastern Association of Wildlife and Fisheries Agencies conference. His passion for the environment is also evidenced in some of his community service, as he spent time removing invasive plants from Shades Creek, cleaning up Shades Creek and Northside Drive and planting saplings to combat deforestation. Lee has also served as a volunteer track coach, volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club, read to elementary students and fed the homeless. In the classroom, Lee has earned USTFCCCA All-Academic honors and is a member of the Gamma Theta Upsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Kappa Delta and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies.

Jon Vandenberg, Furman – David Knight Graduate Scholar
Furman men’s lacrosse player Jon Vandenberg is the 2017 recipient of the David Knight Graduate Scholarship. The midfielder has played in 46 of a possible 48 games in his career and earned a spot on the Southern Conference All-Tournament Team in 2015. The two-year team captain works tirelessly in the Furman community, particularly with his involvement in the campus’ Heller Service Corps, a student-run community service organization. In his role on the Heller Leadership Committee, Vandenberg organizes meetings, meets prospective volunteers and sets up community service work for students. He has also helped organize the Furman University Dance Marathon in each of his four years on campus, first on the leadership team as a freshman and then as the event’s director in each of the last three years. Over Vandenberg’s four years of involvement with the event, the Dance Marathon raised around $74,000 for the Greenville Children’s Hospital. The biology major, who sports a 3.89 GPA and aspires to be pediatric physician, has spent two summers interning in the medical field, first at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and next at the Nemours A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. Vandenberg is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Beta Beta Beta and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. In 2016, he was a CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 selection and earned induction into Furman’s Quaternion Club, which inducts just four juniors and four seniors each year that represent excellence in leadership, academics, volunteer work and love of Furman.

Anton Wahrby, Wofford – Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholar
Wofford’s Anton Wahrby is one of two recipients of a Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholarship. The 2016 All-American played in all 47 games for the Terriers in his career, starting the last 43 at right tackle, and finished his career third in school history with 525 knockdown blocks. A three-time first-team All-SoCon performer, Wahrby, who was named a Freshman All-American by College Sports Journal in 2013, is a two-time member of the FCS Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star team and was one of the FCS ADA’s two national Scholar-Athletes of the Year and was awarded a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship from the organization. The Karlskrona, Sweden, native was also a CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 selection in 2015, earned a spot in the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Hampshire Honor Society in 2017 and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. In the community, Wahrby has volunteered in a youth mentoring program at Jesse Boyd Elementary. Wahrby holds a 3.84 GPA in business economics and intends to go to medical school in his native Sweden after pursuing a career in professional football.

Haley Harrington, Samford – Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholar
Samford’s Haley Harrington is one of two recipients of a Bob McCloskey Insurance Graduate Scholarship. The lone senior on the Bulldogs’ women’s golf team, Harrington has posted top-25 finishes at the SoCon Women’s Golf Championship in each of the last two years and has turned in the best two results of her career in her last two outings this season, finishing 13th at the Spring Break Classic and 14th at the Bama Beach Bash. A biology major with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Harrington has racked up numerous academic awards throughout her collegiate career. The St. Francisville, Louisiana, native is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta, Alpha Lambda Delta, Beta Beta Beta, Gamma Sigma Alpha, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Harrington has been extremely active in her home and school communities, volunteering for several years with the City of Jackson, Louisiana’s, annual Christmas party, serving as a group leader at Vacation Bible School at Jackson United Methodist Church, assisting with a Habitat for Humanity build with Samford’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and teaching golf with Girls Inc., Fresh Air Farm, Nike Golf Camp and the Greater Birmingham Golf Association. She also volunteered with the Christ Health Center in Birmingham, Alabama, and serves as the marketing coordinator for Samford Gives Back, a student-led, campus-wide service initiative. Harrington aspires to be a doctor and intends to enter medical school in the fall.

Jared Johnson, Chattanooga – William Moore Graduate Scholar presented by McMillan Pazdan Smith
Chattanooga wrestler Jared Johnson is the 2017 recipient of the William Moore Graduate Scholarship presented by McMillan Pazdan Smith. The heavyweight from Jefferson City, Missouri, was a three-time NCAA qualifier in his career, earning spots in the championship field in each of the last three seasons. He was the No. 13 national seed in 2016 and the 11 seed in 2017 and has been ranked in the top 15 nationally for the last three years. Johnson has spent nearly 900 hours serving as an instructor/counselor at the UTC and Jefferson City wrestling camps throughout his five-year career and volunteered with the UTC Wrestling Golf Tournament, the FCA 5K, two blood drives and the Hydrocephalus Association’s WALK to End Hydrocephalus. In the classroom, he is a two-time National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic selection, was a CoSIDA Academic All-District pick in 2015-16 and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. Johnson graduated with honors with a degree in chemical engineering in 2016 and spent this academic year working toward an MBA. Upon completion of his academic career, he would like to work as a chemical engineer and eventually move into project management.

Kristen Favre, ETSU – Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Scholar
ETSU volleyball player Kristen Favre is the recipient of the inaugural Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Scholarship. The setter, who finished in the top five in the league in assists per set in each of the last two seasons, helped the Bucs to a pair of regular-season league titles, in 2013 in the Atlantic Sun Conference and this season as ETSU won its first SoCon regular-season title since 1991. Favre, who earned all-tournament honors in a pair of regular-season tournaments in the last two seasons, was a SoCon All-Tournament pick after helping the Bucs to the semifinals in 2015. The Plano, Texas, native has spent more than 200 hours of her time coaching at volleyball camps since her freshman year, served as a volunteer middle school referee, volunteered with the Salvation Army meal service and volunteered with Physical Therapy Services of Johnson City, Tennessee. An exercise science major with a 3.71 GPA, Favre is a member of the Sigma Alpha Pi honor society and will attend the University of Texas Medical Branch in the fall to begin her graduate studies in occupational therapy, a field for which she developed a passion because of her collegiate athletic experience and exposure to athletic training.

Taylor Rodgers, Mercer – Southern Conference Presidential Scholar
Mercer softball player Taylor Rodgers is the recipient of the 2017 Southern Conference Presidential Scholarship. A first-team All-Southern Conference utility player in 2016, Rodgers also earned preseason All-SoCon honors entering this season. The three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America Scholar-Athlete is a mechanical engineering major with a 3.68 GPA and plans to pursue a graduate degree in civil engineering after graduating from Mercer in December 2017, a decision reinforced by the experiences gained while interning with a pipeline distribution company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last summer. Rodgers, a four-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, serves as the director of activities for Mercer’s student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She has also served as a volunteer softball coach and mentor and has volunteered with Pack the Backpacks, an initiative to pack and deliver school supplies to underprivileged children, and with Mercer’s Be a Good NeighBEAR program, assisting in the cleanup of a community around Mercer’s campus. She has also been a longtime volunteer with Friends Indeed, serving food on Christmas Day at a local church.

Duncan Fletcher, Furman – Mike Wood Graduate Scholar
Furman football player Duncan Fletcher is the 2017 recipient of the Mike Wood Graduate Scholarship. He was a three-time second-team All-Southern Conference selection at tight end after playing quarterback as a freshman, when he helped the Paladins to a SoCon title and an FCS playoff appearance. Fletcher, who earned third-team preseason All-America honors from STATS heading into his junior season and was a team captain as a senior, was a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 2016 and was recently awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship valued at $7,500. A member of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes leadership team in 2015, Fletcher was the Furman chapter’s president in 2016 and will defer enrollment in graduate school while he serves a one-year FCA internship on Furman’s campus. After that, Fletcher, who carries a 3.85 GPA and is majoring in business administration, will attend Vanderbilt to pursue a master’s in accountancy, starting in fall 2018. Vanderbilt’s program will allow Fletcher the opportunity to intern with one of the Big Four accounting firms. His goal is to start his career in public accounting and eventually become CFO of a company.



The Southern Conference, in its 96th season of intercollegiate competition, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and helping build lifelong leaders and role models. The conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921) to tackling the issues of freshman eligibility (1922) to developing women’s championships (1984) to becoming the first conference to install the 3-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer. The Southern Conference is the nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association.

The conference currently consists of 10 members in six states throughout the Southeast and sponsors 21 varsity sports and championships that produce participants for NCAA Division I Championships.

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