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Johnnies reach the summit at Campbell Trophy event By Dave DeLand For the uninitiated, the William V. Campbell Trophy Summit provided an educational reminder that Saint John’s University’s blend of academic and athletic excellence makes it a truly special place. Back here in Collegeville, that’s already common knowledge. “We’ve known it all the time in our little corner of the world – the combination of pretty darn good football and amazingly strong academics is this cocktail we’ve been lucky to indulge in at Saint John’s for a long time,” said Blake Elliott ’03, one of 10 SJU graduates who attended the Summit Aug. 22-25 in Stanford, California.

Saint John’s attendees at the second annual Campbell Trophy Summit included: (Back row, left to right) Mark Flynn ’78, Blake Elliott ’03, Ross Denne ’03, Tom Kost ’78, Paul Gans ’05 and Mark Franta ’80. (Front row, left to right) Jeff Norman ’78, Carter Hanson ’17, David Franta ’18 and Steve Johnson ’13.

“This is what Saint John’s is about,” said Mark Flynn ’78, a member of the Johnnies’ 1976 NCAA Division III National Championship team and a Summit organizer. “They came here to get an education – and by the way, they’re competing effectively on the athletic field.” “To some degree we probably take that for granted,” Elliott added. “But when you get to an event like that and see that we’re so well-represented, it’s pretty cool.” Named after iconic football player/coach and Silicon Valley business world mentor Bill Campbell, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to an exemplary scholar/athlete from one of the NCAA’s 778 universities that participate in football. Nominees must have a minimum 3.2 grade-point average, must be a leader and impact player on the football team and must be a well-rounded, exceptional individual.

“People would argue that for 20-plus years, he was the person who had the most impact on inspiring and mentoring a generation of leaders in Silicon Valley,” Flynn said of Campbell, who died in 2016. The Campbell Trophy Summit – launched in 2017 to bring together former nominees to share ideas that make a difference in the world – advances Bill Campbell’s legacy. In 2007, Campbell hosted a reception in Palo Alto, California, honoring Saint John’s coach John Gagliardi with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Positive Coaching Alliance. Gagliardi presented Campbell with a plaque naming him an

honorary member of Saint John’s J-Club. “It’s almost a networking event,” said Elliott, the 2003 Gagliardi Trophy winner as the country’s outstanding NCAA Division III player. “What’s personified in that event is how we can help each other network to be more successful professionals, and also how you can give back to the people behind you to help them be more successful.” Of the 105 former nominees for the Campbell Trophy or previously the Draddy Award (the name was changed in 2009) who participated in this year’s Summit, four were Johnnies – Elliott, Steve Johnson ’13, Carter Hanson ’17 and David Franta ’18. Only Stanford had as many. Also participating were Saint John’s graduates Flynn, Jeff Norman ’78, Tom Kost ’78, Mark Franta ’80, Ross Denne ’03 and Paul Gans ’05, giving SJU a double-digit participant entourage unmatched by any university. “I want more,” Flynn said. “Saint John’s is terrific about nominating a candidate. These guys will evangelize.” “It resonates with the type of people that Saint John’s is going after,” Elliott added, “and the type of people that are going after Saint John’s. “Guys are going to Saint John’s not to play in the NFL – they’re going to Saint John’s to be doctors and entrepreneurs and great fathers.”



Profile for CSB & SJU

Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2019  

Saint John's Magazine is published in the fall and winter for alumni, parents, friends and the Saint John's University campus community.

Saint John's Magazine Winter/Spring 2019  

Saint John's Magazine is published in the fall and winter for alumni, parents, friends and the Saint John's University campus community.

Profile for csbsju