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Courtesy: Mike McLaughlin
Martha Putallaz and David Helton
Duke Recognized for Student Athlete Excellence
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/27/2015
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IRVING, Texas – As part of the National Football Foundation (NFF) Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF will present Duke University Faculty Athletics Representative Martha Putallaz with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000 on Wednesday.

Duke and Putallaz are being recognized for the third consecutive year for their efforts in fostering excellence among student-athletes as exemplified by 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy recipient David Helton. The previous two years, former Duke quarterback Sean Renfree (2012) and offensive lineman Perry Simmons (2013) were honored as NFF National Scholar-Athletes.

Wednesday’s on-campus presentation will take place during a reception at 12 p.m. ET in Scharf Hall.

“Martha Putallaz has been a critical liaison between academics and athletics at Duke,” NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell said. “We are proud to join with Fidelity Investments in highlighting her role in ensuring that the student-athletes at Duke have an educational experience that prepares them for success long after their playing days in Durham.”

In 2011, the NFF announced, in partnership with Fidelity Investments, a leading provider of not-for-profit workplace retirement savings plans in higher education, that it was expanding its NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards Program to recognize the contributions of the faculty athletics representatives at each of the 17 schools with a member of the annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class.

“To be sure, we are thrilled that Martha Putallaz once again is recognized for her outstanding contributions as Duke’s Faculty Athletics Representative by the National Football Foundation,” Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Kevin White said. “Martha has been exemplary in ensuring academic achievement and there is no one more deserving of such an award. We greatly appreciate both the National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments for honoring scholar-athletes and recognizing the Faculty Athletics Representative position on a national platform.”

Putallaz, a professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, specializes in research in the field of children's social development and peer relationships. Her most recent work focuses on aggression, victimization and social rejection among middle childhood girls. She currently serves as the executive director of the Duke Talent Identification Program, which has led to a focus on the peer relations of gifted children and the long-term outcomes associated with giftedness. She has served as Duke’s Faculty Athletics Representative since 2007 and as a member of the university’s Athletics Council, Athletics Oversight and Compliance Committee and on multiple coach search committees, including the one that aided in hiring current Blue Devil football coach David Cutcliffe.

Duke was represented in the 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class by Helton, who maintained a 3.64 GPA as a psychology major and was named the recipient of the 25th William V. Campbell Trophy. A 2014 CoSIDA first team Academic All-America and two-time CoSIDA first-team Academic All-District selection, Helton became the fifth Blue Devil to become an NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

Helton’s numerous 2014 ACC accolades included the Jim Tatum Award as the top senior football student-athlete in the conference, a three-time Academic All-ACC selection and a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll. A finalist for the LOTT Impact Trophy, Helton played a key role in Duke’s defense, collecting first team All-ACC honors in 2014 and leading the conference in tackles in both his junior and senior seasons.

His extensive volunteer work includes the Durham Rescue Mission, wrapping presents for underprivileged children, and participating in an annual trash clean-up initiative on Duke’s campus.

The Blue Devils’ linebacker plans to pursue a career in sales and marketing after graduation.

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 more than $300,000 each year to the nation’s top scholar-athletes. In 2011, Fidelity Investments became the first official sponsor in the 56-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $10.7 million to 804 individuals since its inception. At the start of the 2014 season, Fidelity also became the presenting sponsor of the William V. Campbell Trophy, college football’s premier scholar-athlete award.

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