LOS ANGELES — Eight Occidental graduating student-athletes took home the school's top athletic honors for outstanding careers in their sport, in the classroom and in the community at the annual Roy Dennis Senior Scholar-Athlete Banquet on Saturday.
Oxy sprinter Jonathan Padron and breastroker Caroline Chang were named the Roy Dennis Scholar-Athlete Award winners for achieving the most in athletics and academics.
Oxy women's volleyball player Madyson Cassidy and men's soccer player Marcus Brandford earned the Grant Dunlap Award for excelling in a team sport, and long jumper Kevin Cox and diver Jessica Robson earned the Pat Yeomans award for outstanding performance in an individual sport.
Women's basketball player Michelle Naito-Lo won the Glen and Julie Johnson Service Award and women's golfer Alexis Holmes earned Oxy's first Leadership Award.
Oxy men's basketball student assistant coach C.J. Faulwell spoke on behalf of the student-athletes and Dean of the College Jorge Gonzalez represented the faculty.
Roy Dennis Scholar-Athlete Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: From 1934 to 1970, Roy Dennis was a major factor in the growth and development of Occidental Athletics. Before being named Director of Athletics in 1945, Coach Dennis led the football, basketball, and baseball programs. As football coach, he established the Occidental record for most victories with a record of 53-40-4, a mark that stood until 1989. Dennis’ legacy lives on in our trophy room and senior scholar banquet both of which are named after the legendary coach and director of athletics.
Male Winner: Jonathan Padron, men's track and field
Padron has been one of Oxy’s top male student-athletes in each of the past four years. As a member of the track and field team, he has been a two-time SCIAC Champion in the 100 meter and a two-time All-American in that event. He’s also a two-time Indoor All-American in the 60-meter and in 2013 was named the indoor track and field west region male athlete of the year. He is a four-year All-SCIAC performer in the 100.
Female Winner: Caroline Chang, women's swimming and diving
Chang is one of the best female swimmers Oxy’s had in several years. During the 2011-12 season, she became the first Oxy women’s swimmer to named an All-American since 1987. In 2012-13, she was named the SCIAC Female Swimmer of the Year, and finished her career with four All-American honors and seven SCIAC Championships. Chang owns Occidental College women's records in 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.91), the 200 breaststroke (2:18.18), the 200 individual medley (2:08.76) and the 200 backstroke (2:10.57).
Grant Dunlap Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Grant Dunlap, a 1946 Oxy grad, left his mark as an athlete, coach, administrator and faculty member during his 40-year career at Occidental. As an athlete, Grand Dunlap was named first team all conference in 1944, and later played professional baseball in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. In 1955, Dunlap returned to Oxy to lead the baseball team to nine championships and the basketball team to five conference titles. Before retiring in 1984, he was awarded faculty emeritus status by his peers for his commitment to excellence on the field and in the classroom.
Male Winner: Marcus Brandford, men's soccer
Brandford was a two-time All-SCIAC selection and an NSCAA Academic Award winner. During his four years on campus he also did various web and graphic design work for various campus organizations. He graduates with a 3.4 grade point average in Urban and Environmental Policy. He wrote his Senior Comps on the emerging Micro Housing trend in his hometown of Seattle.
Female Winner: Madyson Cassidy, women's volleyball
Cassidy was a four-time All-SCIAC selection, she helped lead the Tigers to the 2011 SCIAC Tournament Championship and to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Division III playoffs. In the classroom, she maintained a 3.8 grade point average in economics and math. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, she received honors in economics and received the Benedict Freedman Senior Prize in Mathematics.
Pat Yeomans Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Pat Yeomans graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1938, majoring in history and government while finding time to minor in art and play a little tennis. Yeomans was the first female athlete to be awarded an Occidental letter. She won 12 national championships and reached finals of countless USTA National and junior tournaments. But perhaps her greatest achievement was helping to bring back tennis as an Olympic sport, a 12-year campaign that culminated in the return of tennis at the 1988 Olympics.
Male Winner: Kevin Cox, men's track and field
Cox is a biology major from Sedona, Ariz. As a member of the track and field team, he was named All-SCIAC in the long jump all four seasons and was the runner up this year. He was also a member of the All-SCIAC 4x400 and 4x100 relay teams.
Female Winner: Jessica Robson, women's swimming and diving
Jessica Robson has simply dominated SCIAC women’s diving for the past four years. She won 7 of 8 possible SCIAC Championships in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions and at one point had a streak of 27 consecutive conference wins on both boards. This past year she capped her impressive career with a run all the way to the NCAA Championships and an All-American honor.
Glen and Julie Johnson Service Award
ABOUT THE AWARD: Glen and Julie Johnson have been exemplary Tiger Club members, giving the Occidental Athletics community gifts of time, service and resources. The award recognizes student-athletes that have been outstanding in their commitment to serving others outside of the classroom or field of play.
Winner: Michelle Naito-Lo, women's basketball
On top of being an All-SCIAC women's basketball player and the SCIAC 2013-14 Ed Baldwin Character Award Winner, Naito-Lo has run Oxy's intramural program for two years, been a SAAC member, a statistician in our games management program and an avid supporter of her peers. But even more impressive than her service to the Oxy athletics community has been Michelle's welcoming presence to countless prospective student-athletes as an O-team leader and Senior Fellow and Admissions Tour Guide, her passion for learning as epitomized by her classification of every tree on campus as part of her undergraduate research, and her desire to give back as a volunteer educator in her Peer Health Exchange and Neuroscience Outreach programs.
Winner: Alexis Holmes, women's golf
On the course she was one of the strongest leaders on the team, taking the lead of building team identity, leading workouts, and pushing her teammates on a daily basis. Off the course she was one of the most accomplished leaders on campus, acting as President of the Occidental Sports Business and Law Network, performing as a solo pianist, volunteering for the Feed Hunger Program through Saint Dominque's Church, and tutoring students at both the college and high school level. Holmes graduates with a 3.7 GPA and will continue the work she began in college with the FBI by taking a full position later this summer.