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The Big Ten, the nation's oldest collegiate conference, commemorates the 103rd anniversary of a very unique tradition - the Big Ten Medal of Honor. The conference's most exclusive award was 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 student from the graduating class of each university who had "attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work."
In 1982, the award was expanded to include one female student-athlete from each member institution. Big Ten institutions feature more than 9,500 students competing in intercollegiate athletics, but only 28 earn this prestigious award on an annual basis. In more than 100 years of the Big Ten Medal of Honor, nearly 1,400 students have earned this distinction.
Earlier this spring, Goodwin and Smucker were named recipients of the 2017 Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award, which is presented annually to one Penn State senior male and one senior female student-athlete who have combined successful athletic participation with academic excellence.
Goodwin, the senior captain of the Big Ten Champion men’s hockey team and a St. Louis, Missouri, earned his degree as a double-major in economics and Spanish in the College of the Liberal Arts in May. Goodwin excelled on the ice during his four years as a Nittany Lion, and has made a significant impact in the classroom as well as in the community and abroad.
During the 2016-17 season, he became the first Penn State player in program history to record 100 career points. Playing for Coach Guy Gadowsky, Goodwin holds the program record for points (128), assists (84), games played (147) and is second in goals (44). Goodwin, who was instrumental in the Nittany Lions earning their first NCAA Tournament berth, is a three-time All-Big Ten Honorable mention.
With a 3.65 grade-point average, Goodwin is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and helped the men’s hockey team to a 3.31 grade-point average during the fall 2016 semester.
Goodwin has also used his Spanish major to give back to others as he has traveled abroad to many Spanish-speaking countries to lend a helping hand. He has traveled to El Salvador and Nicaragua to help in local elementary schools as well as volunteer at orphanages and help build retaining walls. Goodwin has also traveled to Mexico and most recently has gone on two trips to Cuba. In the summer of 2016, he taught English to a university class during the day before embarking out of the city to help tutor younger age groups during a seven-week excursion to Cuba. He later returned for a brief time during winter break.
Goodwin is also very active as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) and as part of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON). As a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, Goodwin recently had a $500 donation presented to THON from the committee in his name.
Goodwin also was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which is given annually to an NCAA Division I senior, who has notable achievements in the four areas of community, classroom, character and competition. CLASS is an acronym that stands for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School”.
Smucker, the two-time co-captain of the women’s lacrosse team and a Bel Air, Maryland, native graduated in May with a degree in biobehavioral health.
Smucker is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She was a 2015 IWLCA First-Team All-Region member as well as a 2016 and 2017 IWLCA Second-Team All-Region selection. Playing for Coach Missy Doherty, Smucker also earned Big Ten Tournament MVP honors and is a three-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time Tewaaraton Watch List selection.
Smucker has become one of the best defensive midfielders in the nation over the past three seasons while scoring (564) goals and adding 16 assists for (80) points. She has also collected (122) ground balls while causing (87) turnovers during her career.
During her time at Penn State, Smucker has helped the team improve each season, from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament as a freshman to NCAA national semifinal berths the last two seasons. She also helped Coach Missy Doherty’s squad capture the inaugural Big Ten Tournament title in 2015.
Smucker is also active in the community as a member of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and Penn State Global Medical Brigades and a THON volunteer. She traveled to Honduras to help medically treat and teach less fortunate communities and has participated in Read Across America, the Fallston Humane Society and Lunch with the Lions. Smucker has also helped special needs children in activities on campus.
Led by Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour, Penn State has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, featuring 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity programs (16 men’s, 15 women’s). Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 89 percent. The Nittany Lions rank No. 4 among all Division I schools with 198 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including five this past year.
The Nittany Lions’ 49 NCAA Championships all-time (77 national championships overall) rank No. 5 among all NCAA Division I programs and are the highest total of any college or university east of the Mississippi River. Penn State’s 30 NCAA titles since 1992-93 leads all Big Ten Conference institutions. The Nittany Lions have won 104 Big Ten Championships since capturing their first crown in 1992-93, with titles in a conference-high seven different sports in 2016-17.