Big Ten Medal of Honor

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Big Ten Medal of Honor
Big Ten Medal of Honor.jpg
Awarded forGreatest Proficiency in Athletics and Scholastic Work
CountryUnited States
Presented byBig Ten Conference
First awarded1915
Currently held by28 each year (since 2014–15)

One of the most prestigious conference awards in college athletics, the Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.” The 14 institutions of the Big Ten feature over 10,000 student-athletes, more than any other conference, and only 28 of those individuals are recognized each year with the Big Ten Medal of Honor. In the nearly 100 years of the Medal of Honor, just over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.[1] [2] The medal features the Latin phrase Mens fervida in corpore lacertoso ("a fervent mind in a vigorous body") on one side and the student's name and the phrase For Scholarship and Athletic Prowess on the reverse side.[3]


The award was first given in 1915. It was the first award in intercollegiate athletics to demonstrate support of the educational emphasis placed on athletics and honor those who embody the values of the "student athlete".[3] Originally the award was only given to male athletes, since 1982, a female athlete from each institution has also been awarded the Conference Medal of Honor.

Notable recipients[edit]

Past and present recipients who remained in the athletics world include NCAA 10-time National Champion Coach John R. Wooden, NFL quarterbacks and Super Bowl-winners Bob Griese and Drew Brees (all Purdue graduates), Olympic swimmer and Gold medalist Davis Tarwater (Michigan), MLB pitcher Johnny Gee (Michigan), former baseball player turned sports agent Casey Close (Michigan), Pan American Games gymnast, Gold medalist Abie Grossfeld (Illinois), collegiate track and field coach Francis X. Cretzmeyer (Iowa), as well as professional soccer players Joanna Lohman, Emily Zurrer, Vanessa DiBernardo, and Britt Eckerstrom, and Indiana University baseball player Laren Eustace.[4] Other notable recipients who did not pursue a career in sports include businessman Keith Nosbusch (Wisconsin) and NASA astronaut Michael S. Hopkins (Illinois).[3][5]


  1. ^ Big Ten Medal of Honor
  2. ^ Medal of Honor Recipients through 2014
  3. ^ a b c Ozanian, Mike (March 15, 2014). "Big 10 Celebrates Medal Of Honor Centennial". Forbes.
  4. ^ "Women's Soccer Records: Big Ten Medal of Honor" (PDF). Big Ten Conference. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  5. ^ "AE Alum Chosen for 2009 Astronaut Class". University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. July 14, 2009.