The Baker University Athletic Department has been named a Silver Champions of Character Five-Star Institution for the 2017-2018 athletic year by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The Champions of Character program provides training for students and coaches that develops and reinforces the values that build character on and off the field. Each NAIA institution earns points on the Champions of Character Scorecard, which measures growth in five key areas: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. Baker University is one of 62 NAIA institutions to earn the level of silver.

Nate Houser, Baker’s athletic director, recognizes the importance of the Champions of Character distinction in the athletic program’s mission statement: Baker University Athletics is dedicated to graduating champions for life by developing leaders through competition, academic achievement, diversity, and community service in the pursuit of personal excellence. He also sees student-athletes, such as senior pitcher Olivia Brees, put these values into action.

“Olivia Brees represents the hard work we expect in the classroom and on the field from Baker athletes,” Houser said. “Her work here on campus and with youth in the summer are great examples of the standards we set and achieve with our student-athletes.”

Brees was selected a 2018 NAIA First Team All-America last year and was named the Google Cloud College Division Softball Academic All-American of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

In addition to Baker’s student-athletes, Houser credits exceptional coaches for Baker’s Five-Star Award, coaches dedicated to ensuring their student-athletes perform their best in all aspects of their college careers.

“[Baker softball coach] Jamie Stancliff creates an environment for her scholar-athletes that produces results in the classroom and on the field,” Houser said. “Her team was recognized as an NAIA Scholar Team this past year with a 3.54 GPA and a program record 41 wins last spring.”

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