In 2010, GVSU rowing alumnus, James Muir (1978-‘79) established a rowing scholarship to honor his former crew coach, Paul Springer (1970-‘82). It was his intent to provide the same benefits of the rowing experience that he enjoyed to current and future Grand Valley student/athletes. He has now extended the challenge to other alumni and friends of the GVSU rowing program to promote and support this scholarship in order that it may be a lasting legacy. While the unique niche is rowing, the Paul Springer Crew Scholarship will be a commitment beyond just Crew, to University and Community as well – supporting athletes, like James Muir, who go on to bring dedication to their workplace and service within and beyond it.
The winners of the Coach Paul Springer Rowing Scholarship are:
In four years, many things can happen in the life of any one person. Academically, a young student grows from a high school freshman to earn their diploma. Over the next four years that graduate matures into an independent young adult and has the opportunity to earn a college degree. There are many opportunities to grow throughout our academic career, and the choices we make ultimately shape the color and character of our lives.
At Grand Valley, every student has the opportunity to become part of a great athletic tradition, Rowing. Regardless of his or her prior experience, physical stature, or socioeconomic background, there is one thing that determines the level of success in our sport- the ability to work hard and be a contributing member of a group.
The benefit of being a member of the rowing team goes far beyond an increased level of fitness. Long after the races are over, after the sweat dries, and the last races are recorded, there remains an internal change that is unique to college athletics. It is the simple paradigm that the things we want in life can be attained through hard work and focused, directed efforts. It is the knowledge that life is a balance; port and starboard, physical and mental, and a balance of priorities. It is the confidence in knowing that hardships are unavoidable, but you can always weather the storm by bringing your focus to the task at hand, and sharing the trust of those around you.
Our mission statement says it all: “Grand Valley Rowing challenges its student athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.” The Paul Springer Scholarship is a performance based award that enables the most dedicated and talented athletes to be rewarded for their role in helping GVSU Rowing fulfill its mission statement.
We have some of the most dedicated student-athletes who, in order to pay team dues that cost over $1,000 per year, take part in our Rent-A-Rower program that involves various labor-intensive jobs. Many athletes use this community-minded opportunity to pay off their participation and travel costs. They clean up the football stadium after the University is done cheering on its football team. During the winter, they shovel snow in the entrances of academic buildings at 5am. They rake the leaves and clean the gutters for your neighbors, your coworkers and acquaintances.
Collegiate rowing may last only four years, yet the impact it has on the lives of our student athletes is permanent. The Paul Springer Scholarship helps us show that we as a Team, a University and a Community support the athletes that are willing to commit and invest more than others think is wise or safe, in themselves and those around them.
Congratulations to this year’s winners. We look forward to rewarding more dedicated student-athletes in the future.