Sept. 29, 2016
The Heisman Trophy Trust has named former University of Notre Dame football All-American, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer and retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page as the 11th Heisman Humanitarian Award Winner.
The award will be given in recognition of Page's tireless efforts in assisting students of color achieve their dreams in furthering their education. Not only does The Heisman Trust honor the most outstanding college football player each year, but it also provides for underprivileged and underserved youth communities throughout the nation. The Humanitarian Award was created as an extension to the Heisman Trophy's greater outreach to athletes who are providing opportunities to those less fortunate.
Justice Page will receive his award at the 82nd Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Gala Dec. 12, 2016, in New York City. Tickets to the dinner gala are available online at www.Heisman.com.
"I doubt that it would have occurred to anyone when I was a student that I would have accomplished the things that I have. But the path that I have traveled is not a path exclusive to me. It is a path those of us who have been privileged by good fortune can make available to all young people without regard to their economic, social, or racial background. It is simply a matter of working to create hope and provide opportunity," said Justice Page.
Hailing from Canton, Ohio, Page was a defensive force who proved himself as a brilliant, aggressive defender throughout his career. Page helped lead the Irish to a consensus national championship during the 1966 season. After graduation, the All-American was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Page played for an impressive 15 seasons in the NFL and played in an astounding 236 games with both the Vikings and the Bears. Page was a member of the Vikings famed Purple People Eaters.
Page also received his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978 while still playing for the Vikings. Shortly after leaving the NFL, Page began working as an attorney in the Minnesota Attorney General's office. It was during this time that Page decided he wanted help out his community even more.
During his 1988 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech, Page and his wife Diane launched the Page Education Foundation, a foundation built upon the need to give financial assistance and encouragement to students of color facing extraordinary odds while trying to achieve their dreams. Page recognized that education is a key to success and not everyone has the means to realize that goal. The Page Education Foundation helps students of color pursue postsecondary education. The Foundation awards grants to students who have a strong willingness to provide service to children and who have a positive outlook towards education. In return for their scholarship, each grant recipient provides 50 hours of volunteer mentoring and tutoring to children in grades K-8 in their community.
Page was elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992, becoming the first African-American to hold a seat. Page was reelected three times and stepped down due to the mandatory retirement age of 70. His foundation has provided $13 million in Page Grants and his Page Scholars have volunteered over 420,000 hours to date.
"The Heisman Trophy Trust is honored to recognize Justice Page as our Heisman Humanitarian recipient," said Rob Whalen, executive director of The Heisman Trophy Trust. "Justice Page embodies the spirit of the Heisman Humanitarian by using his success to pave the way and provide opportunities for those less fortunate."
Page joins the company of 10 previous Heisman Humanitarian recipients:
--Joey Cheek, Olympic speed skating gold medalist, for his dedication and service to the children of Darfur;
--George Martin, former defensive end of the New York Giants, who walked across America to raise funds for rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero after 9/11;
--Pat LaFontaine, former NHL star who, through his Companions in Courage Foundation, builds interactive playrooms in children's hospitals to keep young patients connected to their families and friends;
--Mia Hamm, world-renowned soccer player, who raises funds and awareness for families needing marrow or cord blood transplants continues to build operations for young women in sports;
--Warrick Dunn, former NFL running back, who has provided homes for single parent families to honor his mother's memory;
--Marty Lyons, University of Alabama and New York Jet defensive tackle, whose foundation fulfills special wishes of children with terminal or life threatening illness;
--Jeff Gordon, four time NASCAR Cup Series champion and founder of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which supports children battling cancer;
--David Robinson, former San Antonio Spurs center, who has dedicated himself to helping children and families in need in the San Antonio community;
--Joe Torre, legendary baseball player/manager who created the Joe Torre Safe at Home foundation that works to end the cycle of domestic violence;
--Boomer Esiason, All-Pro Quarterback whose Boomer Esiason Foundation fights cystic fibrosis. Page also has been named the 2016 recipient of the Notre Dame Monogram Club's Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award. The award is the highest honor given by the Monogram Club. The Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award is annually bestowed upon an active Monogram Club member who has achieved notoriety in the following areas:
- Exemplary performance in local, state or national government
- Outstanding dedication to the spirit and ideals of Notre Dame
- Demonstrated responsibility to and concern for their respective communities
- Extraordinary commitment and involvement with youth
Page will be presented with the award during the Monogram Club's 100th Anniversary Celebration Weekend, which will be held Oct. 28-29, 2016.
Some of Page’s other many honors include the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award (1992), Rev. Edward Frederick Sorin, C.S.C., Award (1992), NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award (2004), the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award (2005) and the Reatha Clark King Award for Excellence and Youth Motivation through the Cultural Arts (2009).
Alan Page Timeline
--National champion at Notre Dame (1966) --Graduated from Notre Dame with a political science degree (1967) --First round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings (1967) --15-year NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings (1967-78) and Chicago Bears (1978-81) --NFL champion with the Vikings (1969) --Four Super Bowl appearances (1969, 1973, 1974, 1976) --Nine-time Pro Bowl selection (1969-77) --Six-time first team All-Pro (1969-71, 1973-75) --NFC Defensive Player of the Year (1970 & 1971) --NFL MVP (1971) --Graduated from University of Minnesota Law School (1978) --Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988) --Launched Page Education Foundation (1988) --Minnesota Supreme Court Justice (1992-2015) --Inducted into College Football Hall of Fame (1993)
About the Heisman Trophy Trust: The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletes and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country. Its goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted.
About the Page Education Foundation: The Page Education Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization founded by Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Alan Page. Its mission is to encourage Minnesota students of color to pursue post-secondary education. For 28 years, it has provided financial support, in the form of Page Grants to students of color. In return for their awards, recipients, known as Page Scholars, help develop positive attitudes about education among elementary and middle school children by volunteering as tutors and mentors in their communities.