|NFL player center of attention with Distinguished Young Alumni Award|
|Wednesday, April 17, 2013|
A star pro football player who developed a reputation for stellar community service off the field has been honored with a Distinguished Young Alumni Award by the General Alumni Association of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jeff Saturday, who recently retired after playing center 14 years in the National Football League, received the award for bringing credit to the University through his achievements. The association’s board of directors presented the award at an April 12 banquet.
“The remarkable accomplishments of many of Carolina’s younger alumni such as Jeff are truly inspiring,” said Douglas Dibbert, association president.
Saturday, who graduated from UNC in 1997 with a business degree, played his last game at the Pro Bowl in January. He spent his last season with the Green Bay Packers, but played the previous 13 with the Indianapolis Colts. In February he signed a one-day contract with Colts so he could officially retire from that team and took a job there in media relations.
The Atlanta native received many awards and recognitions during his pro career, including ESPN’s non-quarterback, non-running back NFL MVP in 2006; NFL lineman of the year in 2007; the NFL record, with Peyton Manning, for the center with the most starts with the same quarterback; and a Super Bowl championship ring for the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI victory in 2007. He was selected for the Pro Bowl six times.
Besides those playing honors, Saturday has received many awards for his off-the-field community service, including the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and the Ed Block Courage Award from the NFL; and the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the highest honor an Indiana governor can bestow each year on someone who has made a significant contribution to the quality of life in the Hoosier state.
A day was designated in his honor in Indianapolis, where among his many activities he is spokesman for the Riley Hospital for Children’s Miracle Ride, honorary chair of the People’s Burn Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and on the boards of Kids’ Voice of Indiana, an advocacy and support agency for those working with at-risk children, and the Sharon L. Bassett Foundation, which supports women and families living with breast cancer.
“My wife [Karen] and I have always felt that giving back is the main priority of why we are here,” Saturday said. “We should do something with the lives we’ve been blessed with.”
Since 1989, the General Alumni Association’s Distinguished Young Alumni Awards have recognized alumni age 40 or younger whose accomplishments have brought credit to the University. A roster of past recipients is available at http://alumni.unc.edu/awards.
GAA contact: David Brown, (919) 962-7057,