OLATHE, Kan. – Peru State baseball student-athlete Charles (Chaz) Dunn (Falls City) has been named the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) male recipient of the A.O. Duer award. The honor was announced at the Heart Summit held Monday in Olathe, Kan.
Dunn noted he is honored to be named as the Heart’s A.O. Duer Award winner and nominee for national consideration. Dunn said, “I am truly honored to have been selected as the Heart A.O. Duer award recipient. To be put in the same category as Gunnar Orcutt, Marisa Pribnow, Logan Paben, Mallory Hull, Carrie Lierz, and Mitch Boshart is extremely humbling. I am thankful for everything Peru State has done for me these past four years and I hope I can continue the legacy of excellence that has been firmly established by these former student-athletes. I would also like to thank my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and professors for everything, as you all have helped shape me into the person I am today.”
The NAIA’s A.O. Duer Award is named in honor of the NAIA’s former executive secretary for his 26 years of service to the association. It has been presented to one male and one female junior student-athlete in any sport who has excelled in scholarship, character, and citizenship.
In order to be nominated, a student-athlete must be certified by the College’s registrar as having an overall grade point average of at least 3.75 (on a 4.00 scale) and must have attained junior standing academically. Each NAIA athletic conference may select a nominee to be considered for the national honor which will be announced on the NAIA National Awards Day in September.
Dunn, a senior marketing major with a journalism minor, has a cumulative 3.869 grade point average through eight semesters. Some of his academic achievements include being on the Dean’s List for six semesters and has been a two-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, as well as, being a Heart Scholar-Athlete for two years.
He has been a member of the baseball team for four years and last season was a full-time starter primarily at third base.
His most impressive campus activity note is that Dunn served the Student Athlete Advisory Council as its president for three years – something that no one else had done and most likely will not happen again. Some of his other campus activities include being a member of the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) – the College’s student business association. In PBL, Dunn has been a state award winner two different years.
Dunn has also been the voice of the Bobcat Buzz for Peru State and News Channel Nebraska for the past three years. In addition, he completed an internship with the Marketing and Communications Office while working on an email marketing campaign for the Admissions Office. Finally, he has also completed over 100 hours of community service in a variety of projects.
Peru State’s president, Dr. Dan Hanson, wrote this as part of his nomination letter for Dunn, “Chaz demonstrates integrity and strong character in everything he does. His peers respect him for his commitment to academic success…Chaz has also earned the respect of faculty and staff on campus…In his role as the “Voice of the Bobcat Buzz,” Chaz has interviewed me several times for this program and I have been impressed with his preparation and professionalism…Chaz Dunn’s life exhibits the Five Core Values of the Champions of Character program. He is a strong and positive leader of high character on campus.”
Dr. Sheri Grotrian-Ryan, Dunn’s academic adviser and professor of business, noted, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Chaz in a variety of settings. The first is through his enrollment in my courses over the past couple of years. He is an exceptionally bright individual and regularly shows goal-directed behavior in his academic work.”
His former Legion baseball coach Kory Huppert stated, “I have known Charles (Chaz) for many years and had the opportunity to coach him for five years in Legion baseball prior to him playing baseball for the Peru State College Bobcats. Speaking from our experiences together as coach and player, I have seen Charles display qualities such as a being a kind and courteous person, a trustworthy teammate, and a player who pushes himself to stay both physically and mentally fit. He was always a great communicator on and off the playing surface.”
Dunn’s nomination has been forwarded by the conference to the NAIA national office for judging with the other conference nominees. The winner will be announced in September as part of the NAIA National Awards Day.