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2005 Arthur Ashe Jr Sports Scholar of the Year – Women’s

Media Contact:

Hilary Hurd Anyaso, (703) 385-2981, ext. 3044

Ralph Newell, (703) 385-2981, ext. 3013

FAIRFAX, VA, March 30, 2005 – It was “the unbelievable family
atmosphere” that drew Chris Hill to Michigan State University’s
basketball program. And four years later it has indeed proven to be a
good fit for the 6’3″ Spartan guard. Hill, a senior finance major with
a 3.7 grade-point average, has helped his team earn a spot in this
weekend’s NCAA’s Final Four basketball tournament. He has also been
named Black Issues In Higher Education‘s male Arthur Ashe Jr.
Sports Scholar of the Year for best exemplifying the high standards of
scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. Hill is featured in the
April 7, 2005, edition of Black Issues In Higher Education,
along with the female sports scholar of the year Sharonda Johnson, a
long and triple jumper at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

A native of Indianapolis, Hill has been a member of the 2003
USA Basketball Pan-American Games team and has earned various awards,
including MSU MVP, Big Ten Player of the Week, 2003 Verizon Academic
All-America Third-Team honoree and All-District First Team. Hill was
also named a 2004 First-Team Academic All-American, the first MSU
player since Greg Kelser in 1979 to be so recognized. And just prior to
being recognized as the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year,
Hill shared the MSU Athlete of the Year award with teammate Drew
Naymick, was recognized with a MSU Captain’s award and was named the
ESPN The Magazine 2005 Academic All-American of the Year.

With six dean’s list mentions and a host of other academic
awards, including the 2004 Playboy Magazine Anson Mount Scholar of the
Year, Hill says there is great demand on college athletes.

“Balancing and managing my time, that was difficult, especially early on,” Hill says.

Coach Tom Izzo says Hill works extremely hard both on the court and in the classroom to reach his goals.

“He comes from a strong family that taught him the importance
of setting high standards and working hard to maintain them,” Izzo told
Black Issues.

It’s the combination of academics and athletics that Hill says is most
important. He takes seriously the notion of the college athlete as a
role model.

“We as athletes, especially as minorities, have a special
obligation because we are exalted,” Hill says. “We should be the ones
to set examples.”

Hill is also setting an example through his community service.
During the MSU basketball off-season he has been a featured career-day
speaker for elementary school students, has visited the terminally ill
at a children’s hospital and mentored African-American children
struggling in school.

In 1992, Black Issues In Higher Education established
the Sports Scholars Award to honor undergraduate students of color who
exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.

A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year, Black Issues In Higher Education
invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate
in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars.
In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr.
Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community

To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate
sport, maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2, and
be active on their campuses or in their communities. This year,
approximately 400 male and female student-athletes from across the
country were nominated.

“The class that he carried himself with during times of (more
blatant) racism, that was unbelievable,” Hill says. “This is amazing to
even be mentioned with Arthur Ashe.”

Track and field athlete Sharonda Latrice Johnson of the
University of North Carolina-Charlotte was named the female Arthur Ashe
Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year. A complete listing will appear on the Black Issues web site on April 7.

Published since 1984, Black Issues In Higher Education is the nation’s only news magazine dedicated exclusively to minority issues in higher education.

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