GREENVILLE, N.C. --- East Carolina sophomore defensive end Matt Milner and senior midfielder Kimmy Cummings have been named ECU's Most Outstanding Male and Female Scholar-Athletes for 2011-12. The duo will be honored at the 23rd Annual Breakfast of Champions Saturday morning, April 28, at the Murphy Center.
The award, sponsored by Potash Corp Aurora and the ECU Department of Athletics, is considered to be the most prestigious award that is presented annually to a male and female student-athlete. The award recognizes academic achievement at ECU, qualities of leadership and service to the university and community.
Earlier this year, Milner became the first Academic All-America selection in the history of the Pirate football program, as he was elected to the Capital One Academic All-America Second Team as voted upon by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Milner, who maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) as a physics major, was one of just three sophomores selected and the lone Conference USA representative.
The Cary, N.C., native is a two-time recipient of the program's Jerry T. Brooks Academic Achievement Award and earned the C-USA Academic Medal each of his first three years enrolled. A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and active volunteer with both the Ronald McDonald House and the Boys and Girls Club, Milner has started 21 of 25 career games with 84 total tackles.
"The ECU academic and athletic experience has combined to create goals in my life that previously I did not feel I would be able to attain," Milner said. "My time at ECU comes at a point where I'm building the foundation of the man I will become."
Cummings, who began her career at ECU as a walk-on, carries a 3.92 GPA as a triple major in marketing, management and management information systems. She was recognized as a Capital One Academic All-District Three Second Team selection and was named to the C-USA Women's Soccer All-Academic Team for the second time. Cummings was also one of 33 Division I student-athletes named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Women's College Scholar All-America Team.
On campus she has served as project manager for the small business institute's volunteer and service learning center, while in the community she has volunteered with Riley's Army, Special Olympics, Relay For Life and Walk For Women. The Mechanicsville, Va., native ended her playing career with 15 goals, 11 assists and 41 points - all ranking among the top-15 in school history.
"When I started at ECU, I was the underdog; now finishing my career at ECU, I believe in the underdog who chases dreams and breaks down walls," Cummings said. "These four years have shown me I can push myself farther than expectations."
Cummings was also selected to receive the Pirate Service and Leadership Postgraduate Scholarship Award.
Inside wide receiver Carter Gagnon was named this year's Pat Draughon Postgraduate Scholarship Award winner, which is selected on the basis of outstanding character, dedication, loyalty, persistence and the spirit of competition on and off the field. Long snapper William Smith is the recipient of the Walter and Marie Williams "Spirit of the East" Post-Eligibilty Scholarship Award, which is presented annually to a student-athlete who demonstrates outstanding commitment to the spirit of ECU.
Sarah Christian, a pitcher on the softball team, has been named the recipient of the Kristi Overton Female Scholar-Athlete Award, which recognizes an outstanding female student-athlete from North Carolina that has excelled as a freshman. A Greenville native, Christian is just the fifth freshman in program history to record 15 victories during her rookie campaign. A intended business major, she earned a perfect 4.00 GPA during her first semester.
The 2011-12 Potash Corp Aurora All-Academic Team will also be recognized Saturday. In addition to Milner, the 17-member squad includes: Jessica Abshire (soccer), Dennis Aliotta (men's track & field), Brittany Copeland (women's cross country), Kelly Derby (volleyball), Ariana Jackson (women's basketball), David Jauss (baseball), Hannah Lee (women's swimming & diving), Cicely Lopez (softball), Doug Parker (men's swimming & diving), Daniel Porter (men's cross country), John Schmitt (men's tennis), Julia Strandberg (women's golf), Petar Torlak (men's basketball), David Watkins (men's golf), Abbey Way (women's track & field) and Yilian Zhang (women's tennis).