Samantha Silver Presented with NAIA’s Dr. Leroy Walker Champion of Character Award

EUGENE, Ore. – Samantha Silver, a senior on the Bushnell University softball team, was presented earlier this month with the NAIA’s Dr. Leroy Walker Champion of Character Award at the NAIA convention in New Orleans.

Silver was announced as the recipient of the award back in September and is Bushnell’s first recipient of any NAIA major award. She is the third Beacon to be nominated for the most prestigious character honor given by the association. As an active student-athlete she manages academics, multiple jobs, family, relationships, and on-campus leadership roles like advocating for student-athlete mental health and wellness. She is a strong representative of Bushnell’s “Tri-Athlete Model.”

Silver was joined at the awards presentation by Bushnell University President, Dr. Joseph Womack; Athletic Director, Corey Anderson; and Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Leader, Sarah Freeman.

Reflecting on the honor Silver said, “There are no words I can say to express the gratitude I feel accepting this award. I feel beyond humbled, and my eyes have once again been opened to the things that are possible when I listen to what I am called to. I am surrounded by people that love and encourage me in so many ways and have helped me achieve this honor: my parents, Nick, Corey, Sarah, my coaches, my team, and my best friend. All these people have at one point, or another encouraged me to continue to be who I am called to be. Awards are amazing but I feel this one specifically shows what it means to be a Beacon and for that, I am thankful to be able to have the opportunity to represent Bushnell in this way.”

Corey Anderson commented, “What a true pleasure it was to be with Sam as she received this well-deserved honor by the NAIA. Over the years, getting to know Sam as a student-athlete and watching her grow as a leader for not only her team but for our campus community has been inspiring. Our student-athletes and campus as a whole are in a better place in terms of mental health due to her passion, vision, and determination.”

Sarah Freeman added, “Sam is a true representation of the Bushnell Tri-Athlete model and a champion of character. It was a privilege to be in New Orleans with her and her parents as she received this much-deserved honor. The work that Sam has done over the past two years, to promote mental health awareness and develop programming, is benefiting all our student-athletes and will have a lasting impact. We are so blessed to receive the fruits of Sam’s passions and faithfulness to her calling.”

President Womack expressed his admiration for Silver’s achievements saying, “Samantha represents the very best of what we hope for in Beacon Athletics – that the opportunities derived there might produce occasions of growth in faith and acts of genuine service.”

Silver’s accomplishments as a student-athlete and her commitment to character and service have made her a true inspiration to all those around her.

“It was an honor to be in attendance when Samantha was recognized by the NAIA ,” stated Cascade Collegiate Conference Commissioner, Robert Cashell. “There is no question she has had a significant impact on the Bushnell community, as well as, the entire conference with her dedication to servant leadership.”

About Bushnell University

Founded in 1895 Bushnell University helps students discover and answer God’s call on their lives. Devoted to offering a Christ-centered environment, Bushnell encourages students to grow in wisdom, informed by faith, and leading to lives of service. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the University was founded by pastor-educator Eugene C. Sanderson and pioneer businessman and church leader James A. Bushnell. Bushnell is the largest private university in Eugene’s vibrant university district. The University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees for undergraduate and graduate studies through course formats on campus, online, and evening, as well as online programs for MBA, MA in Leadership, M.Ed., and Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  More information about the University is available at

Sam Silver NAIA
Silver and Administration


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