DALLAS & BOSTON, August 11, 2011 – The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Football Hall of Fame and Fidelity Investments®, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, today announced an expanded initiative between the two organizations to celebrate the scholar-athlete ideal and a commitment to higher education.
As part of the agreement, Fidelity will serve as the first presenting sponsor of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards in the 53-year history of the prestigious program, which honors outstanding student athletes with scholarships to continue their post-graduate education. The firm will also sponsor the NFF Scholar-Athlete Reception and additional activities associated with the NFF Annual Awards Dinner honoring the annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class in New York City in early December.
To promote the achievements of the recipients, Fidelity will work with ESPN to produce a series of short television segments about the 2011 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class, which annually recognizes the top 15 individuals in the country for their academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. The segments will also include a special feature on the recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy winner, who is recognized by the NFF as the top football scholar-athlete in the nation. All of the segments will air on ESPN’s College Football Live on Thursdays from September through early December.
“Fidelity has a long-standing commitment to supporting higher education institutions across the country,” said John Ragnoni, executive vice president, Fidelity Tax-Exempt Retirement Services. “This new partnership with the National Football Foundation gives us the opportunity not only to recognize athletic accomplishments, but also to support and showcase students who are excelling in the classroom, on the field and in their communities.”
Fidelity will also continue to support the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program. The salutes are a series of on-field plaque presentations at universities and colleges across the United States that honor the annual College Football Hall of Fame inductees at their respective alma maters.
“Millions of Americans and higher education employees look to Fidelity to help them save for retirement, and their commitment to excellence makes Fidelity the perfect corporate partner for our programs that highlight the best of the best,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We know that Fidelity’s participation will significantly raise the visibility of our efforts while strengthening our key relationships at colleges and universities from coast-to-coast.”
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, launched in 1959, were the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes post-graduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Fidelity becomes the first official sponsor of the program, which has awarded more than $9.5 million to 740 individuals since its inception. The program currently provides $300,000 each year in post-graduate scholarships to 15 of the nation’s top scholar-athletes from all levels of collegiate play. Fidelity’s sponsorship of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards will provide the program unprecedented visibility through a series of innovative marketing initiatives.
Notable past NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award recipients include former NFL standout Derrick Brooks (Florida State); actor Mark Harmon (UCLA); NASA astronaut Leland Melvin (Richmond); former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips (Yale); chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament, Billy Payne (Georgia); record-setting NFL quarterback Peyton Manning (Tennessee); famed NFL quarterback Steve Young (BYU); and Heisman Trophy winners Terry Baker (Oregon State), Gary Beban (UCLA), Doug Flutie (Boston College) and Tim Tebow (Florida).
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951. The salutes are the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. The events provide them with one more chance to take the field at their alma maters as they take their places among the greatest college players of all time.
This year’s hall of fame class, which will be inducted December 6 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, includes: Carlos Alvarez (Florida), Doug English (Texas), Bill Enyart (Oregon State), Eddie George (Ohio State), Marty Lyons (Alabama), Russell Maryland (Miami, Fla.), Deion Sanders (Florida State), Jake Scott (Georgia), Will Shields (Nebraska), Sandy Stephens (Minnesota), Darryl Talley (West Virginia), Clendon Thomas (Oklahoma), Rod Waldrop (Arizona), Gene Washington (Michigan State), coach Lloyd Carr (Michigan), and coach Fisher DeBerry (Air Force).
Led by Chairman Archie Manning and President & CEO Steve Hatchell, the NFF has attracted a committed board of directors with some of the most influential individuals from the worlds of sports, business and academia, including: William V. Campbell, chairman of the board of Intuit; Timothy Cook, the chief operating officer of Apple Computer; Gene DeFilippo, director of athletics, Boston College; Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys Football Club; Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots Football Club; John J. Mack, executive chairman of Morgan Stanley; T. Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management; Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami (FL); and Roger T. Staubach, executive chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle Americas. Behind their leadership and shared beliefs in football’s unique ability to promote the scholar-athlete ideal, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Program has become one of the most prestigious honors in all of sports.
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For more information regarding the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards or College Football Hall of Fame programs, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.
ABOUT FIDELITY INVESTMENTS
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of more than $3.6 trillion, including managed assets of more than $1.6 trillion, as of June 30, 2011. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, and scholarships of over $1 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.
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