Peter Ifft Receives Coleman Medal Of Honor
July 16, 2009
CHICAGO- UIC right-handed pitcher Peter Ifft (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) was awarded the 2008-09 Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor, presented annually to the student-athlete that best exemplifies the dignity and high purpose of the Horizon League and its membership, on Thursday, July 16.
Ifft was selected to receive the prestigious award for his accomplishments in the academic and athletic realms, his extracurricular involvement and his character during competition and outside of athletics.
The Rockford, Ill. native and three-year letterwinner on the UIC baseball team features impeccable academic credentials. Ifft graduated this past May with a perfect 4.0 grade point average as a bioengineering major with a concentration on neural engineering and a minor in mathematics. He won the Bell Honor Award as one of three valedictorians of the UIC College of Engineering's 2009 class.
He won the UIC Athletics Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year award three consecutive years (2007-09) and was a three-time Academic All-Horizon League selection. Ifft has also garnered a bevy of scholarships for his work in the classroom and the lab.
Among his scholarly accolades are an honorable mention for the 2008 Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the Roy Howard Pollack, Aileen S. Andrew and Francis Moon Scholarship awards for academic merit in engineering, the Alpha Eta Mu Beta Travel Award, a MAP Scholarship and an FMC Scholarship.
Ifft has served as a research assistant for UIC's Neural Engineering Applications Laboratory, working on projects ranging from the brain to strokes. He co-wrote "Rapid Prototyping for Neuroscience and Neural Engineering," a scholarly article published in the July 2008 edition of the Journal for Neuroscience Methods. He wrote and presented abstracts for Biomedical Engineering Society and American Society for Engineering Education meetings, and he was selected to be a presenter for the Biomedical Engineering Society's Neural Microsystems Technology Session in the fall of 2008.
On the mound Ifft helped the Flames win three Horizon League regular season championships, two Horizon League tournament crowns and two berths to the NCAA Regionals. In 2008 he went a perfect 4-0 with a 3.18 earned run average in 13 appearances, lifting the Flames to a win in the league title game and a win over Dallas Baptist in the NCAA College Station Regional.
Ifft was named to the 2008 Horizon League Championship All-Tournament Team after beating Milwaukee in the winner-take-all title tilt with eight innings of three-run mound work. He also cooled off Dallas Baptist's bats with five innings of one-run relief to get the decision in the Flames' second-ever NCAA Regional win.
He finished his baseball career with a 4.28 ERA and a 5-2 record in 69.1 innings over the course of 25 appearances.
Ifft will begin his pursuit of a PhD in biomedical engineering at the Duke University School of Medicine this fall.
"Peter is the epitome of a student-athlete," said UIC Director of Athletics Jim Schmidt. "He welcomed the challenges of a rigorous academic and athletic environment and succeeded in unrivaled fashion. His relentless work ethic will serve him well as continues to pursue his education and make a difference in the lives of others. Peter is more than deserving of such a prestigious honor."
"This honor is rewarding in that the Horizon League acknowledges that there is more to the college experience than what one does on the field," said Ifft. "For an athletic conference like the Horizon League to recognize what student-athletes accomplish both on and off the field is very rewarding, and the league has been excellent at that all along. I am honored to receive the Coleman Medal of Honor and appreciate the recognition."
Ifft is the first male UIC student-athlete to receive the award and just the second student-athlete in UIC history to earn the Coleman Medal of Honor. Jacki Farr of the women's tennis team garnered the honor in 2000-01.
Green Bay volleyball student-athlete Rochelle Meulemans received the Coleman Medal of Honor on the women's side. UIC women's basketball student-athlete Nikki Grobbecker was a finalist for the women's Coleman award.
The Coleman Medal of Honor, awarded by the Horizon League annually to one male student-athlete and one female student-athlete that exhausted their eligibility and competed in a league-sponsored sport, is named after Cecil N. Coleman, who served as the league's second commissioner from 1980-84. A former University of Illinois athletic director, Coleman was instrumental in the formative years of what is now the Horizon League, working to obtain automatic qualification to NCAA Division I championships and expand the conference.
Fans can listen to podcasts featuring exclusive interviews with UIC head coaches, staff and student-athletes in two ways:
1. Download the free UIC Athletics Widget and click on the "UIC Flames Podcasts" link
2. Download podcasts for free on iTunes by searching "UIC Flames."
Fans wishing to learn more about affordable and flexible UIC ticket plans are encouraged to call 312-413-UIC1 or visit www.uicflames.com and click on the "Tickets" tab on the Flames home page.