Published on November 22, 2016
The Ooks Athletic Association (OAA) has pledged $220,000 over the next five years to support scholarships for students who play on NAIT’s intercollegiate teams
Gregg Meropoulis, president of the Ooks Athletic Association, presented the cheque to NAIT just before the men’s basketball game against Augustana on Nov. 18. Since 1994, the association has provided nearly $1 million in support to the Ooks Athletic Tuition Scholarship Fund and the Barb Hanson Athletic Endowment Fund.
Director of athletics Linda Henderson says the OAA’s support has been integral to the growth of NAIT’s athletic program. “It’s a very competitive environment to attract students to any of our intercollegiate programs. To do that, we need to provide scholarships.”
Meropoulis, who started at NAIT nearly 38 years ago as coach for the women’s basketball team, remembers when the OAA was initiated by the coaching staff to raise money for scholarships.
“We wanted to bring NAIT’s athletic programs in line with other post-secondary institutions,” he said. “We saw the need for additional scholarship support to attract students to play on our teams. Today we have student athletes from as far away as Chile and Australia.”
According to Henderson, scholarships also help students perform academically. Of the 160 student athletes, 75 were national scholars in the 2015/16 academic year. One of those national scholars is women’s basketball athlete Shea-Lynn Noyes.
Receiving a scholarship, said Noyes, was a driving factor in her decision to attend NAIT. “Scholarships changed my career path. I might not have been able to attend post-secondary. I credit everything I’ve done here at NAIT to the coaching staff and scholarships I’ve received.”
Noyes graduated with honours from the Architectural Technology program in May 2016. She is now pursuing a diploma in Interior Design Technology. “Thank you a thousand times over to the OAA. I can’t even express enough how thankful and blessed I am to have had the opportunity.”
About Essential: The NAIT Campaign
Essential: The NAIT Campaign was launched in November 2014 to raise $100 million by 2018 to support student success, applied research and the construction of the Centre for Applied Technology. Opened in August 2016, the Centre is the largest capital project in NAIT’s 54 year history. To learn more about Essential: The NAIT Campaign, visit www.nait.ca/giving