May 28, 2014
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. - Northern Illinois University women's golfer Connie Ellett is the recipient of the inaugural Betty Rich Award, named in honor of Betty Ann Rich, NIU alumnae and late wife of NIU alumnus Jerry Rich, the Rich family announced this week.
"There are many aspects of Betty I see in Connie, and I couldn't think of a better young lady to receive the first Betty Ann Rich Award," said Jerry Rich, President of Rich Harvest Farms and husband to late Betty Ann. "Betty and I have long worked with NIU and to see a young lady prosper out of the NIU Women's Golf Team like Connie is very rewarding. I know that Betty Ann would be proud of the entire NIU Golf team and would be extremely grateful of this award in her honor."
Ellett, a junior, has continued Betty Ann's legacy through her hard work and leadership on and off the golf course. Someone that represents the NIU women's golf team in a positive manner, Ellett is always ready to get out into the community and volunteer her time. She holds high academic standards and is always there for her teammates. Connie has put in a lot of hard work over the year and is well deserving of this award.
"It's been my pleasure getting to know the Rich family over the past two years and our program really appreciates all of their help," said Ellett. "Mrs. Rich was a strong advocate for our women's golf team and I feel incredibly honored to win an award in memory of Mrs. Rich. She set a great example for all of the girls on our team with her optimistic personality, her willingness to do community service, and strong leadership skills.
"I want to thank my teammates, coaches, the Rich family, and my parents for helping me become someone that possesses similar qualities to Mrs. Rich. It is a fantastic award to win."
A native of Hampshire, Ill., Ellett competed in all 10 events for the Huskies, averaging 79.2. She tied her career low with a 74 in the second round of the Redbird Invitational and carded a career-low 228, the eighth-lowest score in school history for a 54-hole event, at the Islander Classic. She was named MAC Women's Golfer of the Week with that performance
Created by the NIU women's golf team and Rich Harvest Farms, home of the Huskies, the Betty Ann Rich Award will be presented each year to a member of the NIU Women's Golf team who accumulates the most points based on athletic performance, academics, community service, leadership and character. The athletic performance, academics and community service are based on numbers, while the members of the golf team determine the leadership component. The coaching staff will determine the character component by ranking each individual golfer.
"We can't thank the Rich Family enough for their support of the NIU golf program," said NIU Head Women's Golf Coach Kim Kester. "It's an honor to have an award in Betty's name. We hope all our student athletes will possess the same qualities as she did in their character, leadership, community outreach, and a strong advocate for women's golf."
Born on March 29, 1940, Mrs. Rich was raised in the north side of Chicago. She graduated from Downers Grove High School in 1957, and upon receiving a scholarship, decided to attend the Northern Illinois University where she met her husband, Jerry Rich. They were married the night they graduated and the couple continued a long relationship with their alma mater by serving on the Board of the Foundation, donating computer labs to the GIS department, engaging students in numerous internships and class projects, as well as providing a home for the men's and women's golf teams as well as the equestrian team.
Mrs. Rich's intellect, personality and charitable spirit was an inspiration to all who knew her and helped shape what Rich Harvest Farms and the Kids Golf Foundation signify today. Her strong sense of character and optimism are a motivation to all that knew her. No matter what endeavors she encountered, her spirit was never broken and her smile never faded. Mrs. Rich passed away May 28, 2013, but her presence remains and is remembered through the Betty Ann Rich Award.