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University of California, Riverside

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Track Star Gains National Honors


UC Riverside Track Star Gains National Honors For Scholarly, Athletic, Community Achievements

Nate Irvin Named 2003 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar
Of the Year by "Black Issues in Higher Education"

(April 21, 2003)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — "Black Issues In Higher Education" magazine has named University of California, Riverside senior sprinter and long jumper Nathan Irvin the male 2003 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year, besting a field of athletes-scholars from about 600 colleges and universities nationwide.

Irvin received the honor for “exemplifying the standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism,” according to a press release from "Black Issues In Higher Education." Irvin is featured in the April 10, 2003 edition of the national news magazine dedicated to minority issues in higher education. University of Tennessee, Knoxville senior Kara Lawson was named female sports scholar of the year.

Irvin, a pre-medicine biology major, has maintained a 3.8 grade-point average, including a 4.0 grade average in the fall quarter. He has made the dean’s list 10 times and the chancellor’s honor list on two occasions. Irvin has captained the track team for three years and is the campus’ top sprinter and long jumper, setting a freshman long jump record of 23 feet, 7 inches.

His dominance in the sport, while at Riverside Poly High School, brought him to the attention of UC Riverside’s head track coach Chris Rinne, who attracted Irvin with scholarships and the school’s emerging Division I status.

Apart from academics and athletics, the award also recognizes community service. Irvin is a member of the African Americans United in Science, serving as president for two years, and is on the campus’ Rhodes Scholar Team, which grooms students for the program. For two years he has volunteered with SOAR, working with disadvantaged youth in the community. Irvin also has served as a bio-med peer mentor to ease the transition into UC Riverside’s rigorous medical sciences program.

Irvin’s interest in becoming a physician was sparked during middle school when a friend was diagnosed with lymphoma. The friend later made a full recovery, but Irvin immediately began taking classes and attending summer programs to prepare to pursue a medical career and never wavered from pursuing his goal.
Scheduled to graduate in June, Irvin has already been accepted by medical schools at Harvard, Yale and Cornell among others. He is currently weighing his options.

In 1992, "Black Issues in Higher Education" established the Sports Scholar Award to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr. A scholar 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 the awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars.

A National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I campus since the 2001-2002 season, UC Riverside is a member of the Big West Conference featuring 17 intercollegiate sports including: baseball, softball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross-country, soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, and indoor and outdoor track and field.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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