EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Haley Adrian's desire to guide and assist others is a major part of her personal portfolio. So it's understandable that the SIUE junior, a key contributor to the successful Cougars' softball team, will be saluted for her leadership skills.
"It's a great honor," said Adrian, an infielder from Auburn, Alabama. "There are a lot of deserving students around campus, so I was very surprised to receive it."
Adrian, majoring in public health, added: "It's not just about athletics or academics, so it's very special to me."
When Adrian isn't hitting, fielding or throwing a softball, she spends her time benefiting and motivating others.
Michelle Welter, SIUE's Associate Director for the Kimmel Student Involvement Center, said Adrian is a worthy recipient for the annual award.
"We've been doing this for at least 18 years, and it's a prestigious award," Welter said. "It's one of the highest individual awards we give on campus."
The award was established in honor of Carol Kimmel, a longtime member of the SIU Board of Trustees. Kimmel, who dedicated her life to education, served a dozen years on the board before her death in 2008.
Welter noted, "Haley is an outstanding student leader and has demonstrated her leadership on campus. She's a student-athlete who is on the University Center Board, an undergraduate research assistant and a volunteer for disability services.
"Haley has done a lot of things, and she takes her role seriously. She has empowered others," Welter said.
SIUE Head Softball Coach Sandy Montgomery said the 5-foot, 6-inch Adrian, a right-handed hitter and thrower, gives her best on and off the field.
"She's a great person and great teammate," Montgomery said. "She has been involved in a lot of different things and causes since she has been here. She does and says the right things."
That includes honing her softball skills for the Cougars, sporting a sparkling 35-8 record through April 20. Adrian, serving mainly as a reserve infielder, is hitting .200 and had an on-base percentage of .333.
When Montgomery calls on her, Adrian is primed to play.
"She understands her role right now and she is very upbeat in the dugout," Montgomery said. "That's the sign of a good person. She exemplifies the word teammate."
Adrian embraces all of her activities, including serving as a group leader for Cougar guides and a private tutor through support services.
"They are all very rewarding experiences," she said. "My parents instilled me with that (service) attitude, and I've been doing that my whole life, including high school."
Adrian pointed out, "My first year at SIUE I was getting a feel for things because I was concentrating on softball. Then I started getting involved in more organizations my sophomore year.
"One of my most rewarding positions was becoming president of the student-advisory committee. We want to make the student-athlete experience more enjoyable for everybody."
Her experience with softball has been quite enjoyable, Adrian said.
"We have a good team, and I think what makes us so good is our strong team chemistry," she said. "It's such a friendly environment. Everybody has a role and mine is to be ready to go all the time."