By Brance Arnold ’10 MA
Being named Student-Athlete of the Year is not only an honor bestowed for excellence on the field, track, or court, but for paramount achievements in the classroom and among the community as well. Student Howard Gill exemplifies these accomplishments and has been selected as the University of the Incarnate Word’s (UIW) Student-Athlete of the Year for 2011-2012.
A biology major, Gill earned a 3.9 cumulative GPA to include a pristine 4.0 for the 2012 spring semester. He graduated summa cum laude in May and received his bachelor’s degree within three academic years. At UIW, he was a Dean’s List student, a Presidential Scholar, a Military Children’s scholarship recipient, a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and secretary of UIW’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the UIW Pre-Med Society.
Classified as a junior in athletics, he ran cross country for the Cardinals, finishing 36th at the Lone Star Conference (LSC) championships and 45th at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional meet. In track, he set UIW records in the indoor 1600-meters, outdoor 1500-meters and the indoor 1k. During the outdoor season, he placed 5th in the Lone Star Conference 800-meter run, attained 7th place in the 1,500-meter event, and was voted Lone Star Conference Academic Athlete of the Year for track & field as well as led a group of 11 notable track and field athletes on LSC Men’s All-Academic Team.
According to Howard’s coach, he embodies all that is exemplary of a candidate for Student-Athlete of the Year.
“He is what I call a shooting star—someone who comes in and does great things with a wonderful personality and attitude,” said Derek Riedel, UIW’s head cross country/track and field coach and Gill’s coach for his three years at the university. “He exceeded my expectations with his love for running, school, Christ, and his teammates.”
Gill’s achievements and contributions have not only been academic and athletic, they have extended into the San Antonio community. He has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, St. Peter’s School and Seton Home for Single Women via San Antonio’s Family Educators Alliance of South Texas (FEAST).
Selected by UIW’s coaches and athletic administrative staff at the conclusion of each school-year, criteria for receiving the accolade is based upon a grade point average of 3.5 or better, academic classification as junior or senior, residence at UIW for a minimum of one year, and contributions to one’s team. The ballot for this academic year included forty-one student-athletes; the nominees represented seven of the nine men’s sports and nine of the ten women’s teams.
“He was the right person for the student-athlete of the year award,” said Riedel. After receiving the elite distinction and completing his baccalaureate at UIW, Gill now plans to attend the University of Texas Medical School at Galveston this Fall.