(CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I.) At a special presentation during the UPEI Athletics and Recreation Awards Gala held Friday evening in Charlottetown, P.E.I., Atlantic University Sport announced UPEI women's basketball forward Kiera Rigby as the 2018 recipient of the 32nd annual James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award presented by PepsiCo Beverages Canada.
The James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award was established in 1985 and is awarded annually to an outstanding student-athlete in Atlantic University Sport for excellence in academics, athletics, leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship.
Phil Currie, executive director of Atlantic University Sport, and Marg Bayer, wife of the late James Bayer, were both on hand to make the presentation on behalf of the selection committee which also includes and Dr. Robert Campbell, president and vice-chancellor of Mount Allison University and chair of the AUS board of directors.
A five-foot-11 forward from Charlottetown, P.E.I., Rigby has achieved success on the basketball court and in the classroom, while also being heavily involved in the community.
For her efforts on the court, she was named an AUS first team all-star this season. She started in all 20 games for the Panthers, leading in team scoring with an 18.4 points per game average—the third highest in the conference. She also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game through the regular season.
In the AUS postseason, the Panthers were AUS finalists. Although they ultimately fell to the Acadia Axewomen in the championship final, Rigby posted 16 points and seven rebounds in the final game of her AUS career.
"Every season, we look forward to this time of year when we have the opportunity to award this honour to an AUS student-athlete," said Currie. "Once again our selection committee received 11 incredible nominations and I would like to commend all of the nominees on their achievements."
"I want to congratulate Kiera, who embodies what an AUS student-athlete should be, and is very deserving of this prestigious award. Her accomplishments on the basketball court speak for themselves. And it is her performance in the classroom, and her dedication to her community that have seen her rightfully recognized both at the AUS and national levels in this, the final season of her AUS career."
In the classroom, the biology student has a cumulative GPA of 3.9. She is a four-time academic all-Canadian on pace to repeat the achievement for a fifth time.
Rigby is very active in the community, lending her time to a number of causes. Since June, she has logged over 80 volunteer hours in the physical medicine and emergency departments of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
She serves as the external communications and community outreach coordinator for the World University Services of Canada (WUSC). As part of her work with WUSC, she has planned fundraising events for the Shine a Light campaign, which supports girls' education in refugee camps.
Rigby has volunteered her time with the Arthritis Society, as well as the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life and Run for the Cure.
She is a three-year member of the UPEI Varsity Leadership team, a tutor with Student Services and an active member of the UPEI Biology Society and Pre-Med Society.
"Kiera is one of the best female athletes I've had the pleasure of coaching," said Panthers head coach Greg Gould. "Kiera is a born leader. She cares for everyone she comes in contact with, and that caring and supportive personality makes people want to follow her. Kiera always has time to uplift and support those around her. It's amazing to watch how people of all ages are drawn to her magnetic personality."
Rigby was this season's recipient of the AUS women's basketball student-athlete community service award. She went on to win the award at the national level, capturing the 2018 U SPORTS Sylvia Sweeney Award.
"Kiera is one of the most spirited, thoughtful and caring people I know. Her athletic achievements and academic achievements speak for themselves," said UPEI's athletic director, Chris Huggan. "What really stands out is her genuine interest in helping others, volunteering and building community. She is generous with her time, exceptional with kids and is rarely (maybe never) seen without a smile on her face. She's a terrific role model and an exceptional Panther."
Each year, the 11 AUS member schools nominate one student-athlete for this prestigious award. As this year's recipient, Rigby receives a $1,000 scholarship.
Also nominated were Acadia's Zachary Visser, Cape Breton's Ciera Disipio, Dalhousie's Sven Stammberger, Memorial's Veronica Reid, Moncton's Natalie Fleming, Mount Allison's Keri Martin, UNB's Randy Gazzola, Saint Mary's Mary Worndl, Liam Elbourne from StFX and Taylor Cook from St. Thomas University. Each of the nominees receive a $500 scholarship award.
James Bayer taught education and physical education at both high school and university levels. He served as supervisor and consultant for the Nova Scotia Department of Culture, Recreation and Fitness.
At Acadia University, he served as dean of recreation and physical education and as director of athletics from 1978-1985. As an administrator in the AUAA and the CIAU, he was a key player in the establishment of intercollegiate athletic policy.
This memorial scholarship is the most prestigious award offered annually by Atlantic University Sport.
Previous recipients the James Bayer Memorial Scholarship Award:
1987 - Greg Berry, StFX University, Soccer; Caroline Lulham, Mount Allison University, Volleyball
1988 - Gunnhildur Baldursson, Acadia University, Soccer
1989 - Jackie Wong, Mount Allison University, Volleyball / Soccer
1990 - Augy Jones, St. Francis Xavier University, Basketball
1991 - Heather Morrison, University of Prince Edward Island, Field Hockey
1992 - Keith Donovan, Dalhousie University, Basketball
1993 - David Sykes, Saint Mary's University, Football
1994 - Kathy McNally, University of Prince Edward Island, Field Hockey
1995 - Scott Bagnell, Dalhousie University, Volleyball
1996 - Carla Edwards, Mount Allison University, Volleyball
1997 - Chris Diamond, University of Prince Edward Island, Soccer
1998 - Peter Benoite, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Basketball
1999 - Jan Trojanowski, Acadia University, Basketball
2000 - Kristen Lewis, Dalhousie University, Cross Country
2001 - Jillian MacDonald, Dalhousie University, Basketball
2002 - Louis Poirier, Université de Moncton, Track & Field
2003 - Dan Tudin, Dalhousie University, Hockey
2004 - Eric Gillis, St. Francis Xavier University, Cross Country
2005 - Adrienne Power, Dalhousie University, Track & Field
2006 - David Chant, Saint Mary's University, Hockey
2007 - Colin Sinclair, University of New Brunswick, Hockey
2008 - Katherine Quackenbush, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Basketball
2009 - Isabelle Miles, University of New Brunswick, Soccer
2010 - Alex Legge, Dalhousie University, Basketball
2011 - Jacob Kilpatrick, University of New Brunswick, Volleyball
2012 - Daniel You, Dalhousie University, Volleyball
2013 - Rebecca Haworth, Dalhousie University, Track & Field
2014 - Alana Fairfax, Acadia University, Soccer
2015 - Karolyne Blain, Cape Breton University, Soccer
2016 - Katie Ross, Acadia University, Soccer and Basketball
2017 - Eric Locke, St. Francis Xavier University, Hockey
2018 - Kiera Rigby, University of Prince Edward Island, Basketball