Gymnast Reighard Tabbed With Honor

MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan University gymnast Kara Reighard (Mount Pleasant/Mount Pleasant) has been selected as the recipient of the 2004 Bill Boyden Leadership Award. She will be honored at CMU's football game Saturday, Sept. 18, against Southeast Missouri State.

The Boyden Award is designed to honor the student-athlete who is and will be an exemplary representative of CMU. It is presented annually to one CMU letterwinner who is entering their final year of eligibility. The award is not primarily an academic one. Instead, it singles out that senior to be of satisfactory academic standing whose record best combines participation in a varsity intercollegiate sport with leadership ability in campus affairs and activities, interests or accomplishments in the arts and community involvement.

Reighard's accolades in the gym have been numerous in leading the Chippewas to two MAC titles in each of the last two seasons. The Mount Pleasant native was an NCAA national qualifier in 2003 and is a three-time regional qualifier (2002-04). She is a two-time Mid-American Conference all-around (2002-03) and vault champion (2003-04), as well as a MAC floor champion (2004). She has won MAC "Gymnast of the Week" nine times in her three years and was also named first team All-MAC three times, the team MVP twice, and the MAC "Freshman of the Year."

In addition to success as a gymnast, Reighard has also worked hard in the classroom and in the community. She is a business and marketing major with a minor in retail. With a 3.51 cumulative grade-point-average, Reighard was named an NACGC Academic All-American, academic All-MAC, and to the Dean's List. A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, she is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was a top-five finisher for CMU's "Freshman of the Year."

Her activities also extend beyond the university and into the community. A resident of Mount Pleasant since birth, Reighard has been an active volunteer since high school. Recently, she has been involved with canned food and clothing drives, the Special Olympics as gymnastics judge, youth camps, and church activities.

Reighard is the second CMU gymnast to win the Boyden Award. The first was Vicki Epple back in 1995.

Upon graduation, the winning applicant is provided a cash grant of at least $3,500 for continuation of education or furtherance of other career goals. Alternatively, because of NCAA regulations, if the recipient is on athletic scholarship, he or she may direct the $3,500 cash award to any department or project within the university. The award winner's name is inscribed on the permanent plaque located prominently in Rose Arena. The honoree also is presented with an individual plaque and special gold "C" Boyden Award lapel pin.

The Bill Boyden Leadership Award was established in memory of W.B. (Bill) Boyden. Bill was a 1935 Central graduate. His life and accomplishments demonstrated a unique blend of athletic ability, leadership, business acumen, participation in the arts and an extraordinary involvement in community activities.

Bill was a football and track star who earned recognition as most valuable backfield man in his senior year at Central and set a CMU record for the 100-yard dash in track, which stood for many years. Active on campus, Bill was elected President of CMU's Student Council and acted in several campus dramatic productions.

Following graduation and before embarking on a successful business career, Bill spent a rewarding year teaching and coaching baseball and basketball at Peck High School in the thumb area of Michigan. In addition to his work in the private business arena, he demonstrated a lifelong commitment to his community. He was a past president of the Muskegon YMCA, the Rotary Club, the Salvation Army Board and held leadership positions in his church.

One major focus of his attention was CMU. Some reflection of the great pride and affection Bill held for his beloved alma mater is witnessed by the considerable time, energy and service he volunteered to CMU. Until his untimely death in 1980, he was a long-time member of the University Development board, serving twice as its chairman. As a member of that board, Bill is acknowledged as the initial motivating force behind the construction of Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Bill Boyden honored Central Michigan during his life and the Boyden Award seeks to honor and continue promotion of his ideals and his university.

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