June 10, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Former Florida State tennis player Ania Rynarzewska, and Brian Brunner, a former quarterback at Central Michigan University, are the first recipients of the Jim McKay Scholarships, which will be presented annually to one male and one female student-athlete who have excelled academically and plan to pursue postgraduate studies in the communications industry.
The Jim McKay Scholarship program was established in 2008 to recognize the immense contributions and legacy of pioneer sports journalist Jim McKay and to assist former student-athletes who plan to work on a postgraduate degree at an NCAA college or university.
Rynarzewska and Brunner will each receive a $10,000 award for their outstanding academic achievements. Brunner plans to pursue a master’s degree and a Ph.D in journalism, while Rynarzewski plans to pursue a Ph.D in mass communications and marketing.
“The NCAA is pleased to announce the two student-athletes who are the first to receive Jim McKay Scholarships,” said Delise O’Meally, NCAA director of membership and student-athlete affairs. “We’re recognizing two student-athletes who excelled at the highest levels academically while competing in sports and doing community service. When you think of Jim McKay and how he embodied the best of sports, journalism and professionalism, our scholarship recipients have an excellent role model in which to pattern their careers.”
Rynarzewska, who also received an ACC Postgraduate Scholarship, is a native of Inowroclaw, Poland, was a member of Florida State’s SAAC and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She interned in the sports information office and got experience with events planning, fundraising and accounts coordination during her collegiate years at FSU. She was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference honor roll and the All-Academic ACC Team between 2006-2008; to the Dean’s List three times; and to the President’s List twice. She was the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar Athlete of the Year (2006-08) and the FSU Golden Torch Award winner for achieving the highest GPA on her tennis team. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She also participated in food drives and various activities in the city and on campus while competing and going to school.
“There are no words for me to describe how proud I am and how happy I am for Ania in receiving the Jim McKay Scholarship,” said Florida State head women’s tennis coach Jennifer Hyde. “Only one male and one female in the nation are awarded this scholarship each year, and for Ania to be chosen above a group of skilled and successful student-athletes speaks highly of the accomplishments she’s had in her collegiate career at Florida State University. Ania continues to represent Florida State University and the athletics program in a manner that every student-athlete should strive to. She was never content with mediocrity. She strived to be the best in all facets of her experience. She never wasted a day and she personifies what we hold as the standard on our women’s tennis team. This scholarship will open many doors for Ania and her future, and she has worked steadfastly to create this for herself. I am so excited and thrilled for Ania.”
The Jim McKay Scholarship is open to student-athletes in all three NCAA divisions. Eligible recipients must have an overall undergraduate grade-point average of 3.5 or better and must have competed in intercollegiate athletics as a member of a varsity team at an NCAA member institution.
Additionally, nominees should also be enrolled in a graduate program or be a graduating senior committed to enrolling in a graduate program within five years of being named as a McKay Scholar. Candidates are nominated by the institution’s faculty athletics representative or chief academic officer.