Several Big Ten Conference and University awards were presented at the 2022 UI Athletics Senior Student-Athlete Reception Friday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium.
Tyler Linderbaum (football) and Manuela Lizarazu (women’s golf) were named Iowa’s Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients, Matt Fagan (football) and Tomi Taiwo (women’s basketball) were awarded Big Ten Post-Graduate Scholarships, Nia Britt (women’s track and field) and Wayne Lawrence, Jr. (men’s track and field) earned the Center for Inclusive Academic Excellence Student Leadership Award, and Michael Kemerer (wrestling) and Riley Whitaker (soccer) earned the University’s Robert F. Ray Faculty Award.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor is the conference’s most exclusive award, and the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence. The Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.”
Linderbaum is an enterprise leadership major from Solon, Iowa. He earned unanimous consensus All-America honors at center for the Hawkeyes in 2022, becoming the 12th Hawkeye to earn that distinction. Linderbaum became Iowa’s first recipient of the Rimington Trophy. He was also named the Rimington-Pace Big Ten Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season. Linderbaum started 35 consecutive games at center for the Hawkeyes after playing as a defensive lineman as a true freshman. He was one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy, and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Linderbaum was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft – 25th pick overall – last month.
Lizarazu is a double major in Neurobiology and Biomedical Engineering from Bogota, Columbia. She posted three career top 10 and five career top 20 finishes, including a third place finish at the 2018 Diane Thomason Invitational. She has seven career rounds at or below par and has a 75.84 career scoring average over 76 rounds. She is a multiple Academic All-Big Ten and Dean’s List honoree, as well as serving on the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the past three years, this year as the ISAAC President.
For the Big Ten Conference Postgraduate Scholarship, two student-athletes from each of the 14 Big Ten institutions who plan to continue their education at a graduate degree program were awarded a $7,500 scholarship, based primarily on academic achievements. Each Big Ten institution developed its own on-campus selection process when awarding the scholarships. Students must have maintained at least a 3.2 grade-point-average, demonstrated leadership qualities, served as an excellent role model and intended to continue their academic work beyond their baccalaureate degree at a graduate degree program. The scholarship will be used to pay expenses of the student’s postgraduate education to include such related activities as research and teaching, as well as other expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, and required course-related supplies and books. In order to retain the scholarship, the recipient must be accepted into a full-time graduate degree program within three years from the fall semester after selection.
Taiwo is a pre-medicine major from Carmel, Indiana. She played in 102 games during her Hawkeye career, averaging 3.1 points and 12 minutes per game. A Dean’s List student and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, Taiwo scored a career-high 14 points twice during the 2021-22 season. She plans to attend Texas Christian University to participate in a business master’s program in 2022.
Fagan is a public health major from Council Bluffs, Iowa. After joining the football program as a walk-on, he saw action in three games on the offensive line during the 2021 season. Fagan is a four-time UI President’s List and five-time Dean’s List student. He will attend the University of Iowa for his post-graduate degree.
The Center for Inclusive Academic Excellence Student Leadership Award goes to senior student-athletes, who because of their leadership has made significant contributions to the university and/or surrounding communities through his/her vision and action to advance diversity and inclusion.
Iowa’s Big Ten Indoor Women’s Track Sportsmanship Award winner in 2019 and 2022, Britt is a native of Sherman Oaks, Calif. She earned All-America honors in the shot put during the 2019 outdoor season. Her best marks in the indoor shot put (54-11 1/2, 16.75m), weight throw (68-8 1/2, 20.94m), and hammer throw (200-1, 60.99m) rank second, third, and fourth, respectively, all-time at Iowa.
Lawrence, Jr. is an 11-time All-American and four-time Big Ten indoor champion from Dayton, Ohio. He set indoor school records in the 400 meters (45.40), 600 meters (1:16.55), and as part of the 1,600-meter relay (3:02.40). He was named Big Ten Indoor Track Male Athlete of the Year and Big Ten Indoor Track Male Athlete of the Championships in 2022.
The Robert F. Ray Faculty Representative Award is named after a former dean and longtime UI faculty representative to the Big Ten Conference. The award is annually presented to a male and female student athlete who demonstrates outstanding academic and athletic excellence and leadership.
Kemerer, a business major from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, is a five-time All-American where he posted a 100-12 career record, competing at 157 and 174 pounds. A 2021 Big Ten Champion, Kemerer went 26-2 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. He was Iowa’s 2017 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient, is six-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a five-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete.
Whitaker, a health and human physiology major from Ankeny, Iowa, was a two-time Big Ten All-Tournament Team selection. The defender played in 54 career games, logging more than 4,300 minutes. Whitaker was named team captain her junior year, Iowa’s Newcomer of the Year in 2018 and Iowa Defensive MVP in 2019. She was Iowa’s Big Ten Sportsmanship recipient and earned the Iowa Hawk Award in 2021, while being a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.