Columbia College earns top national honor in athletics

Columbia College earned the top spot among 168 member institutions named Five-Star Award winners in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character competition.

The Fighting Koalas athletic program was the only one in the country earning a perfect score based on exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and by having minimal to no ejections during competition throughout the course of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Columbia College President Beth Dinndorf said, “Our scholar athletes exemplify Columbia College’s focus on teamwork and leadership. I am immensely proud of them for being recognized for their performance both on and off the field.”

Institutions are measured on a demonstrated commitment to the NAIA’s five core values—integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership—and earned points in character training, conduct in competition, academic focus, character recognition and character promotion.  While the Fighting Koalas have consistently scored very high in the NAIA Champions of Character program, this marks the first time Columbia College has received the top honor.

“Character education is very important to our athletic department. I am very proud of our student-athletes and coaches, and how they represent Columbia College and the Appalachian Athletic Conference through the NAIA Champions of Character program,” said Athletics Director Kellyann Stubblefield. “Our women are respectful, responsible, play and act with integrity, and show sportsmanship. They work hard to be good servant leaders in our community, and to achieve a perfect score and national-level recognition is incredible.”

Columbia College student athletes compete in ten sports in the Appalachian Athletic Conference—basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball.

Learn more about the Champions of Character program championsofcharacter.org.