Former Badgers starting quarterback and current Minnesota Viking Joel Stave and track and field star Kelsey Card were awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor on Monday for his academic and athletic performance during his time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Big Ten Medal of Honor award first began in 1915, where one student from each Big Ten university received the award. Since then, 28 student-athletes receive this notable award each year.
According to the Big Ten’s website, “The Big Ten Medal of Honor is awarded to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each member institution who has demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career.” The Medal of Honor is considered the most prestigious award given by the Big Ten Conference.
Joel Stave graduated in December of 2015 from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. In his time at UW, Stave was also a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Students eligible for the selection, according to the Big Ten Conference, are those in their second academic year, letterwinners and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
On the football field, Stave broke school records becoming the winningest quarterback in UW’s history. In his collegiate career, Stave threw for 7,635 yards and 48 touchdowns (second in school history for both categories). He also had a .765 winning rating in the 41 games he started (31-10).
In an article released by the University of Wisconsin, Badger football head coach Paul Chryst says, “I’m very proud of Joel and his accomplishments. He was a tremendous competitor on the field and great leader for us. Those characteristics were evident in the classroom as well. I was lucky enough to be around him at both the start and end of his career and very much enjoyed watching his growth. He is very deserving of this distinguished award.”
Joining Stave for the award is Kelsey Card, UW track and field student-athlete. In her time at UW, Card became a seven-time All American, a Wisconsin school record-holder in the shot put and weight throw, discus runner-up in the 2015 NCAA Championships, 2015 Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and contender for this year’s Olympic team. Card graduated from UW in May with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies and gender & women’s studies.