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Duke Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Martha Putallaz
Duke Recognized for Promoting Scholar-Athlete Ideal
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 04/22/2014
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IRVING, Texas – As part of  the National Football Foundation Faculty Salutes Initiative, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, the NFF will present Duke Faculty Athletics Representative Dr. Martha Putallaz, with a commemorative plaque and the school with $5,000. The presentation will take place April 23 during a Noon luncheon at Scharf Hall in the Michael W. Krzyzewski Center for Athletic Excellence on the campus of Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Duke and Putallaz are being recognized for their efforts in fostering excellence among the student-athletes as exemplified by 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Perry Simmons. The presentation marks the second consecutive year that Duke and Putallaz claimed the honor, following the recognition of the school’s accomplishments as symbolized by 2012 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Sean Renfree.

“The Blue Devils have a rich tradition of outstanding student-athletes, and 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 for the second consecutive year to highlight 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 16 schools with a member of the annual NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. As part of the initiative, the NFF presents 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.

“The Faculty Athletics Representative position, fulfilled at Duke by Martha Putallaz, is crucial to our athletic department, as Martha ensures academic integrity and looks out for the welfare of our student-athletes by monitoring the delicate balance of academics and athletics,” said Kevin White, Vice President & Director of Athletics at Duke. “We appreciate the National Football Foundation and Fidelity Investments honoring scholar-athletes and recognizing the importance of 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 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. She has served as Duke’s Faculty Athletics Representative since 2007 and has served 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 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class by Perry Simmons, who maintained a 3.83 GPA in civil engineering while helping the Blue Devils to their first 10-win season in school history. A First Team Academic All-American in 2013, Simmons also received the Jim Tatum Award as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top senior football scholar-athlete. He earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship and is a four-time Academic All-ACC honoree.

A two-time All-ACC selection in 2012 and 2013, Simmons has played more than 3,700 snaps in his career, and he was the active leader in the ACC with 50 consecutive starts before suffering a knee injury against Florida State. A stalwart in the community, Simmons has participated in a mission trip to Langano, Ethiopia, assisting with a water well-digging project to provide local communities with safe, sanitary water and has logged 75 hours of service with Habitat for Humanity in 2013 alone, helping with the construction of three houses.

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 56-year history of the program, which has awarded more than $10.4 million to 787 individuals since its inception.

About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $4.7 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0 trillion, as of March 31, 2014.  Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms.  For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

About The National Football Foundation
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Leadership Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF Showcases, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF Faculty Salute Initiative presented by Fidelity Investments, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF also presents the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth and hosted at the New York Athletic Club as well as bestowing several other major awards at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City. NFF corporate partners include the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Sports Business Journal, and Under Armour. For more information, please visit