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Athletic Financial Awards

Athletic Financial Awards

[photo of runner]
Photo courtesy Athletics and Recreation

Julie-Anne Staehli, Artsci'16, a gifted track and cross-country runner, credits her decision to come to Queen's to her Athletic Financial Awaed.

Julie-Anne Staehli, Artsci’16, could have gone to just about any North American university. A gifted track and cross-country runner, she was courted by schools across Canada and the U.S. She credits her decision to come to Queen’s to her Athletic Financial Award (AFA).

“Coming into my first year, I received an AFA that was renewable for four years,” she says. “It was one reason why I chose Queen’s.”

Queen’s has a generations-long history of awarding students for that winning combination of academic achievement and athletic excellence, but it is only since 2007 that Ontario University Athletics has allowed schools to offer awards to ­incoming students. Leslie Dal Cin, Executive ­Director of Queen’s Athletics & Recreation, says the entry-level awards are ­necessary to attract high-calibre athletes.

“The competition for student athletes is fiercer than ever,” she says. “We must provide competitive offers to attract the very best. This extends beyond our academic reputation and successful athletic programs to a variety of individual student-athlete development and support services including ­Athletic Financial Awards.”

Dal Cin says student-athletes are important ­ambassadors for the school, and not just on ­campus. “The good will they generate – among students, in town-gown relations, in terms of ­community spirit – is invaluable.”

But it’s not just their presence that makes them so valuable. “To compete at the highest levels against our peer institutions at the provincial and national level we ask student-athletes to do more,” Dal Cin says. “They have individual technical workouts with coaches, strength and conditioning workouts, extended competition, extensive off-season programs, community service and much more.”

Volleyball player Mike Tomlinson, Sc’16, says a typical week includes more than 30 hours in competition and training, in addition to his school work. “There’s no time for a job,” he says.

Dal Cin says AFAs are recognition for the time and effort student athletes put in, on both the ­athletic and academic fronts. Of the 1,000-plus ­student athletes on campus, slightly more than a third are Academic All-Canadians (Canadian ­Interuniversity Sport varsity athletes with 80 per cent averages or better), a ratio that places Queen’s in the top four nationwide.

Of course recipients also have to match their ­academic achievements with high athletic performance, but, Dal Cin says, that is rarely a problem. “We’re talking very, very motivated students here,” she says.

The awards, which top out at $4,500 (commencing in September 2016), help pay for everything from tuition to living and incidental expenses. Staehli, for example, was able to travel to meets across Canada and in the U.S. “Travel can be ­expensive,” she says. “The AFA gives me the ­flexibility to participate.”

Tomlinson says his AFAs have allowed him to ­assume a leadership role in campus athletics. As co-president of the Varsity Leadership Council, he has extra demands on his time beyond volleyball and academics. “I couldn’t do what I do and maintain the marks I need to be eligible for ­post-graduate studies without my AFAs,” he says.

The awards also have an impact on the playing field. “They make our lives easier, which lowers the stress and improves our performance,” says Gaels hockey player Kevin Bailie, Artsci’17. “The AFAs make us feel that the whole school is behind us.”

[cover of Queen's Alumni Review 2015 Issue 3]