Hope College football player Aaron O’Meara has been selected as the school's 24th recipient of a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
The senior linebacker and biology from Wyandotte, Michigan (Theodore Roosevelt HS)
receives a one-time, non-renewable scholarship of $7,500.
O'Meara plans to use the scholarship to help pay for tuition at Central Michigan University's Physician Assistant School. He is a member of CMU's class of 2019.
"This award is an incredible honor and a blessing," O'Meara said. "I have always tried to portray myself as the best scholar-athlete I could be, by not just focusing on athletics or education, but my community as well.
"It is humbling to be a recipient of this scholarship because there were many worthy applicants. This award will motivate me to keep doing my best in all venues of life."
Head football coach Peter Stuursma said the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship is an outstanding accomplishment for a young man who epitomizes what it means to be a student-athlete.
“This scholarship validates the intensity and hard work Aaron O’Meara brings to the football field and the classroom,” Stuursma said. “We are very proud of Aaron O'Meara for representing this institution, our football program, and his family name with the highest level of class.”
O’Meara was a senior co-captain this fall for the Flying Dutchmen, who finished with a 7-3 overall record and posted the greatest single-season turnaround in team history from a two-win season during the 2015 season.
O’Meara earned D3hoops.com all-region and All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association First Team honors as a senior. He made team-high 93 tackles, including 12 for loss and 5 ½ sacks for the MIAA’s No. 1 scoring defense.
O’Meara is the seventh Hope football player to receive a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. He joins a prestigious group that includes Michael Atwell (2014), Brandon Graham (1997), Scott Jecmen (1985), Kurt Brinks (1983), Craig Groendyk (1980), and Ron Posthuma (1974).
“I would like to thank Coach Stuursma for always challenging me to be a better person, my teammates because I can always count on them, and my family for always believing in me,” O’Meara said.
The NCAA awards up to 174 postgraduate scholarships annually. The scholarships are awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically and who are at least in their final year of intercollegiate athletics competition.
All former student-athletes who earned an undergraduate degree from an NCAA member school are eligible to be nominated by that school for an NCAA graduate degree scholarship, regardless of when they received their undergraduate degree.
NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships are awarded three times a year corresponding to each sport season (fall, winter and spring). Each sports season there are 29 scholarships available for men and 29 scholarships available for women for use in an accredited graduate program.
Hope’s Other NCAA Postgraduate Scholars
2016 Boone Marois, Track & Field, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
2016 Jamie Rogalski, Volleyball, Psychology & Sociology
2014 Sheri McCormack, Cross Country, Spanish
2014 Michael Atwell, Football, Biology/Chemistry
2014 Cara Conrad, Athletic Training, Athletic Training
2011 John Donkersloot, Track & Field, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
2009 Nora Kuiper, Track & Field, Chemistry
2008 Lindsay Lange, Track & Field, Kinesiology
2007 Lisa Smith, Swimming, Psychology
2007 Ryan TerLouw, Cross Country/Track & Field, Chemistry
2006 Kelsey Guisbert, Athletic Training, Athletic Training
2005 Emily Schlitz, Athletic Training, Athletic Training
1999 Rebecca Schmidt, Volleyball, Kinesiology
1999 Rebecca Timmer, Track & Field, Cross Country, Chemistry
1997 Brandon Graham, Football, Kinesiology
1997 Derek VanderHeide, Swimming, Chemistry & Business Administration
1993 Jeffery Bannink, Swimming, Physics & Business Administration
1988 Jennifer Straley, Swimming, Biology
1985 Randy Cutler, Baseball, Mathematics & Psychology
1985 Scott Jecmen, Football, Business Administration & Computer Science
1983 Kurt Brinks, Football, Mathematics
1980 Craig Groendyk, Football, Business Administration
1974 Ron Posthuma, Football, Political Science & History