A former member of the Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions soccer team has received a top national character award from the NAIA. Avis Van Kampen, a 2019 graduate from Atoka, has been selected to receive the Dr. LeRoy Walker Character Award.
Van Kampen graduated summa cum laude this spring, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is currently employed as a neonatal nurse at Batson’s Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Miss.
At FHU, she was a team captain of the soccer team, vice president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and a member of the American Midwest Conference Association of Student Athletes. She also served as a camp counselor at Camp of the Rising Son in French Camp, Miss., and volunteered at Spring Gate Rehabilitation Center.
FHU coaches presented her with the Heart of a Lion Award at this year’s Sports Advisory Council Benefit Dinner. Van Kampen is also a three-year member of the AMC Women’s Soccer Champions of Character Team.
“In my 18 years as the coach here, Avis has the best attitude, work rate and character that I have ever seen,” FHU soccer coach Jason Elliott said. “She gives everything that she has to whatever she is doing, and she does so with tremendous character. From the time she arrived here, she has been a leader and tremendous example to all of us.”
The Leroy Walker Character Award was created to honor Dr. LeRoy Walker, a former president of the NAIA and president emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee. It recognizes a current junior or senior student-athlete who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and campus and community leadership embracing the five core character values of the NAIA Champions of Character: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. The award also encompasses initiative, athletic achievement and ambition.