Feb. 14, 2014
DeKALB, Ill. - Huskie women's soccer defender Lauren Noonan (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley HS) has been named one of five recipients of a 2014 Forward, Together Forward Scholarship by Northern Illinois University, NIU announced Friday.
The scholarships have been presented to five current NIU undergraduate students each year since 2009 in honor of the five Huskie students whose lives were lost on Feb. 14, 2008. Noonan is the first student-athlete to receive the scholarship, one of the most prestigious presented by the University, in the six years of its existence.
The Forward, Together Forward scholars are selected based on criteria that include strength of character, exemplified by their work ethic, motivation, inspiration, respect for others, integrity and intellect. These exceptional students from across the university are characterized by selflessness and service to others, in addition to academic excellence, said NIU Interim Provost Lisa Freeman.
"Our Forward, Together Forward scholars are shining examples of NIU President Doug Baker's vision for all NIU students - well-rounded and innovative scholars prepared for success and satisfaction in whatever paths they choose after graduation," Freeman said. "These students strive not only to improve themselves, but also to improve their peers and the world around them. As they work toward these goals, they honor the memory of five of their predecessors whose lives continue to make a difference through these awards."
Huskie women's soccer head coach John Ross said Noonan is an exemplary representative of his program, Huskie Athletics and Northern Illinois University.
"Lauren is very deserving of this," Ross said. "She will take full advantage of this opportunity and represent this scholarship with pride. Lauren has given everything she has to the university, athletic program, and community ever since she stepped on campus. She will be very successful in her life after college and this scholarship will help her see that success. We are very proud of her as the first student-athlete to receive the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship."
Noonan, a junior from Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley HS) is a speech-language pathology and audiology major who carries a 3.87 GPA. She has been a key component of the Huskie defense since her freshman season in 2011 with 49 career starts in her three seasons. In 2012, she was part of a defense which allowed just 19 goals in the regular season, tied for best in the MAC. She has twice been named to the Academic All-MAC women's soccer team.
"I didn't expect to receive the scholarship," Noonan said. "I wanted something to define myself aside from my soccer career. This is perfect. I'm thankful to be honored as a Forward, Together Forward scholar."
Noonan's dedication to service is best represented by her relationship with two individuals in the community.
For the past two years, Noonan has been mentoring a student at Clinton Rosette Middle School in DeKalb. The eighth grader deals with a difficult life outside of school. Noonan visits the student at school twice a week, offering advice, support and encouragement.
She is also a regular visitor to the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center for Bingo Night. Nearly every Tuesday night for the past two years, Noonan has been at the center. She has developed a close relationship with one of the residents who, she says, has become almost "another grandfather" to her.
Noonan is also involved in community service events at local schools and assists with charity projects with the NIU women's soccer team. She is a member of the LEaD (Leadership Enhancement and Development) Huskies program.
"Congratulations to Lauren on this impressive honor," said NIU Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Sean T. Frazier. "While we are very proud of the thousands of hours of community service by our student-athletes each year, Lauren has taken her dedication and commitment to help others to another level. It is great to see that commitment honored by NIU in such a meaningful way."
The five recipients of the Forward, Together Forward Scholarships for 2014 will be honored in a private, on-campus ceremony this March. For the complete list of 2014 recipients, click here.