The first observance of Division III Week - a celebration by member schools of the division's unique philosophy that equally values academics, athletics and student-athletes' involvement in a full and rich campus life - is set for April 9-15.
The purpose of the celebration, announced during the recent NCAA Convention by Division III Presidents Council chair James Bultman of Hope College, is "to call due attention to the activities and accomplishments of student-athletes" by scheduling public events during the week on every Division III campus.
During the week, the University of Minnesota, Morris will host a baseball doubleheader on Tuesday, Apr. 10, hosting Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) foe Presentation at 2:00 p.m. on Cougar Field.
Furthermore, UMMCougars.org will feature numerous stories about Morris student-athletes, authored by their peers, highlighting their many accomplishments both on and off their respective playing fields.
The event is part of Division III's identity initiative, which was introduced in 2010 to provide an assortment of tools and programs for use in sharpening the division's identity, and to enable schools and conferences to consistently explain to constituencies ranging from prospective student-athletes to the local community why they prefer to compete in Division III.
The initiative has been guided by a strategic-positioning platform describing Division III as a place where student-athletes can "follow your passions and develop your potential," within an approach to intercollegiate athletics that combines rigorous academics, competitive sports and an opportunity to pursue other interests.
"In many ways," Bultman said, "a major thrust of our division-wide identity campaign has been to put Division III's story into writing and into imagery, but we also should be eager for opportunities to do more than just tell our story. As educators, we know it is important not just to tell, but to show; not just to talk the talk, but walk the walk.
"Showing what we do - and doing this as part of a concentrated nationwide effort to walk that walk - gives us an opportunity to call due attention to the activities and accomplishments of student-athletes. It provides an opportunity to create a critical mass, if you will, of activity that can further help Division III unite in the effort we've begun during the past two years to show off the combination of attributes that makes us unique in intercollegiate athletics."
"This is what the Division III identity campaign is all about," he said. "While those of us on the inside know what it means to offer sports at the Division III level, we need to spread that message outward, and we should feel no hesitation to do so publicly and with pride."
Excerpts of this story taken from Jack Copeland, NCAA.org