DURHAM, N.C. -- As part of the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF presented Duke Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Martha Putallaz with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000 at a Tuesday luncheon on campus.
Duke and Dr. Putallaz were recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes as exemplified by 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Sean Renfree.
“Martha Putallaz has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at Duke,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting her role in ensuring that the student-athletes in Durham have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days.”
In partnership with Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, the NFF leverages its NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program to recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the 15 schools with a member of the annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As part of the initiative, the NFF is presenting each of the faculty representatives with a commemorative plaque and $5,000 from Fidelity Investments to support the academic support services for student-athletes at each school.
Dr. Putallaz, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, specializes in research in the field of children's social development and peer relationships with her most recent work focusing on aggression, victimization, and social rejection among middle childhood girls. She currently serves as the executive director of the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP), which has led to a focus on the peer relations of gifted children and the long-term outcomes associated with giftedness.
Renfree represented Duke in the 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. In 2012, Renfree led the Blue Devils to the program’s first bowl appearance since 1994 and finished the year having completed 297-of-441 (.673) passes for 3,113 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The two-year Duke captain also has received recognition for his off-field accomplishments this season by being named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete and the recipient of both the ACC’s Jim Tatum Award and the Pop Warner National College Football Award. In addition, he was named to the AFCA’s Good Works Team and was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., native owns both the school’s single-season (.673 in 2012) and career (.647) records for passing accuracy while ranking second on Duke’s all-time chart for total touchdown responsibility (60). Renfree’s career passing yardage total stands third-highest in school history, trailing only Thaddeus Lewis (10,065) and Ben Bennett (9,614).
For his career, Renfree was 898-of-1,389 through the air for 9,465 yards with 51 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. On the ACC’s all-time lists, his totals rank third for completions, tied for fourth for 300-yard passing games (11), sixth for pass completion percentage and seventh for passing yardage.
Renfree graduated from Duke in December of 2011 with a degree in public policy and has completed requirements for a graduate degree in humanities.
The NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards, presented by Fidelity Investments, were established in 1959 as the first initiative in history to honor scholar-athletes with post-graduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. The program currently provides each member of the class with an $18,000 scholarship, distributing a total of $300,000 each year to the nation’s top scholar-athletes. In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first official sponsor in the 55-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $10.1 million to 771 individuals since its inception.