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Lotz shares heartwarming story while accepting Fighting Scot Award

Barry McNamara
Professor Stacy Lotz (right) accepts the Faculty Support Award from swim team member Michelle Nafziger '18.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – While receiving an honor for her work as a faculty mentor to Monmouth College student-athletes, Stacy Lotz turned that praise right back to a packed house of Fighting Scots.

The art professor was on stage to receive the Faculty Support Award at the Fighting Scots Awards ceremony, held earlier this month in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. One of 16 faculty members nominated for the award, Lotz was introduced by her nominator, swim team member Michelle Nafziger ’18 of Prophetstown, Ill.

“She would send us emails after meets, telling us ‘Good job,’ stop by practices to give us treats and was always someone we knew we could go to if we had any problems,” said Nafziger of Lotz, who served as the swim team’s academic adviser. “She did everything short of jumping in the pool with us.”

In her acceptance speech, Lotz shared the story of a sculpture class she taught several years ago, when the 23-year faculty member was relatively new to Monmouth. Ten of the 14 students in that class were members of the Fighting Scots football team.

Lotz accepted a request from an area art teacher to bring an autistic student to the College’s art department foundry, then immediately felt concern, wondering if her football players would be up to the task. Would the attempt to fulfill the dream of a special needs student instead turn into a “disaster?”

“(But) my football players made a line in the hallway on two sides and welcomed this young man into the art building,” she said, recalling “the high fives, the chanting of his name and three hours of very special one-on-one attention to this young man. I could not have been more proud of my football players that day.”

Lotz said the enthusiasm and generosity of her student-athletes that day has been the rule, not the exception.

“And that group of young men have stood as the marker for what all Fighting Scots athletes are – good people, caring people, right here,” said Lotz, tapping her heart. “And that’s the important stuff. It was really the thing that made me realize just how special Fighting Scots athletes are. Their story resonates with all the athletes that I have ever encountered on this campus.”

At the ceremony, nearly 150 student-athletes were recognized for their academic accomplishments during the previous season of competition.

“I brag and advocate that my student-athletes are some of the best students that I work with in the classroom – majors or non-majors,” Lotz told the Dahl Chapel crowd. “I want you to know that faculty do support you, and I look forward every semester to having athletes in my class, because you are truly a very special group of young people.”