ATLANTA - The SAA announced the 2016-17 SAA Man and Woman of the Year presented by Summit Management Corporation and Gray Stanton of Hendrix and Mason Paas of Centre each won SAA Man of the Year honors while Rhodes' Mackenzie Cohen claimed SAA Woman of the Year status.
The SAA Man and Woman of the Year presented by Summit Management Corporation are the highest honors the league bestows. Stanton, Paas and Cohen are the fifth recipients of the prestigious honor and they each perfectly embody the spirit of the award with their incredible contributions to their respective instituitions.
2016-17 SAA Man of the Year - Mason Paas of Centre
A rare talent on the field, Mason Paas (pictured at right) was also a sensational contributor Centre far beyond the successes he enjoyed competing at men's lacrosse and in the classroom. While Paas was an All-SAA First Team selection following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, he's most remembered by head coach Dan Sharbaugh as possessing rare leadership characteristics.
Said Sharbaugh, "I was drawn to Centre in the first place because of its reputation of academic excellence and focus on creating leaders for the world and that is exactly what Mason Paas has become. He embodies everything that a Student-Athlete should be and excels in everything he does. He has a work ethic, team first mentality, and general compassion for others that is rarely found in this world. Mason's goal in life to become a doctor is the least surprising thing he has ever said to me because it will be an extremely difficult process to fulfil, he will absolutely pour his heart and soul into making sure he is one of the best at whatever type of practice he goes into, and in the end he will be effecting people's lives by taking care of their physical wellbeing."
"As a coach that focuses most of my attention on the on-field product, Mason carried himself with a balance of confidence and toughness that is very dangerous when paired together. There was never a challenge Mason wasn't excited to take on, and usually dominated the ones he was involved in. He was hampered with injuries his Senior year, something a lot of players would have used as an excuse to take time off and not do the things he didn't want to, instead Mason lead by example and played through the pain and set a tone for this program that there is an expectation that we will fight through pain when possible."
In addition to being an incredible teammate, Paas impacted the Centre community in a variety of ways. Below is a snapshot of all the work and rewards Paas has contributed and received while at Centre.
Brown Fellow – A full-ride plus scholarship for outstanding students that fosters and recognizes intellectual leadership, outstanding academics, and exceptional citizenship
President of the Student Senate | Centre College, April 2016 – Present
- Elected in campus-wide election; the role of the President is to direct and lead the Senate in its endeavors to consider issues, institute projects, and initiate legislation pertaining to academics; to advise the College faculty and administration on academic issues; and to collaborate with student representatives from academic departments to enhance students' academic experiences.
Member of Student Government Association (SGA) | Centre College, Fall '13 – '14, Spring '16
- Elected by classmates to represent their interests, needs, and desires before the SGA General Body
- Served as a member of the Finance Committee, managing the SGA's quarter-million dollar budget by considering the funding requests and financial doings of every student-led organization on campus
- Appointed as a member of the Student Senate
Centre Christian Fellowship (CCF), Member (Treasurer for 1 year) | Centre College, '13 – May '17
- Elected by CCF members to manage the finances of the organization
- Completely revamped the method of dealing with finances by instituting precedents of responsibility, organization, and initiative
- Used my insider's knowledge of the SGA financial system to maximize potential
Medical Volunteer, Aide, and Student: Edge of Africa | Ft. Dauphin, Madagascar, Jun - Jul '15
- Traveled to Madagascar as one of two students helping to pioneer a rural medical outreach initiative
- Gained hands-on medical experience, working alongside Malagasy doctors while providing basic, crucial, and primary medical care to the local populace
- Emphasized sustainability in our service and learned about how foreign aid affects and changes the local economy and psychology for better or for worse in the process
- Designed creative solutions to problems, medical and general, that confronted local physicians
Studied Abroad in Strasbourg, France | James Graham Brown Foundation, Jul '14
- Traveled with my Brown Fellows scholarship cohort to Strasbourg, France, and studied abroad there, learning of the history, culture, and geography of Alsace
Studied Volcanology in New Zealand | Centre College, January 2016
- For Centre's January Term, accepted into one of the most coveted study abroad programs. Studied volcanology and geology on the North Island of New Zealand from the hot spot of Auckland to calderas in Rotorua to a stratovolcano near Taupo.
Centre-in-Glasgow Study Abroad Program | University of Glasgow, Sept – Dec '15
- Accepted into Centre College's most competitive study abroad program. Studied Biological Sciences at the University of Glasgow, including in an Anatomy cadaver lab. Experienced Scottish culture and gained insight on European citizenry and worldview
Dean's List | Centre College, Fall 2013 & '14, '16 and Spring 2014, '15, & '16
• Awarded to high-achieving students with a GPA of 3.5 or above for each academic term
Member: Phi Kappa Tau
Member: Gamma Sigma Alpha | Centre College, Spring 2015 – Present
- Inducted into an organization that recognizes high academic achievement in Greek students (member of Phi Kappa Tau)
Member: Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership Society)
Member: Phi Beta Kappa (Academic Achievement Society)
- Only top 10% of each class are elected
Served at and attended Grace Presbyterian Church
- Served off and on in a local church particularly in youth ministry, mentoring high school age men and women
Extensive Medical Shadowing Experiences
- Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center Intern (Fall 2016)
- James Graham Brown Cancer Center (Summer '16)
- Esperenza Medical Clinic (Summer '16, Philadelphia, PA)
- Jewish Hospital (Summer '16, Louisville, KY)
In a joint effort to honor the Southern Athletic Association's most elite student-athletes, Summit Management Corporation and the SAA partnered to create the annual SAA Man and Woman of the Year. The awards, selected by a committee comprised of Summit Management and SAA representatives, are given to the senior class male and female nominees who best exemplify traits of leadership, character, athletic and academic success.
The criteria for SAA Man and Woman of the Year nominees included that they must be a senior with no eligibility remaining, they must have been named First Team All-SAA in the sport in which in the participated during their athletic careers, and they must have qualified for the SAA Academic Honor Roll during their tenure as a student-athlete. Additionally, SAA Man and Woman of the Year candidates are expected to be involved in their local community in some meaningful way.