Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Bearcat Athletics News

Scholar-athlete earns NCAA scholarship, Academic All-America honorsChris Platano '10 recently won several awards honoring his academic success.

Recent Willamette graduate Chris Platano '10 has been awarded a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides $7,500 for graduate school to outstanding scholar-athletes.

Platano also was named Third Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America in track and field/cross country. He is the seventh Willamette cross country or track and field athlete to earn Academic All-America honors since 2004.

Platano, who majored in economics with a minor in politics, now works for Intel in Folsom, Calif., as an operations analyst. He plans to use his NCAA scholarship to attend business school.

"In my job at Intel, I will work with customers like HP or Dell to make sure they receive the proper amount of product that makes both them and Intel competitive and profitable," Platano says. "It relates to the supply and demand issues I explored in economics.

"Eventually I want to earn an MBA so that I can gain further experience in international business. Later in life, I would like to get involved in public policy."

Platano was hired at Intel after spending a summer working there as an intern, an opportunity he earned through the James S. Kemper Scholarship, a national program that provides annual scholarships and stipends for internships.

As a Bearcat athlete, Platano competed in both cross country and track. He helped the Bearcat men earn Northwest Conference team titles in cross country in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and he won the conference title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2009.

"The Willamette coaching staff is very supportive of academic pursuits," he says. "They understand that although athletics are important, academics are number one at Willamette."

One of Platano's favorite parts of his Willamette experience was his close relationships with his professors.

"My professors helped me understand the world, what I want to do in life and how I can get to the place I want to be."

For more information on national scholarships for students, visit Student Academic Grants and Awards.

Willamette alumnus Nick Symmonds '06 has won multiple national championships and competed at the Olympics.

Former Willamette runner wins another championship

Willamette alumnus and Olympian Nick Symmonds '06 placed high in several recent top running events, adding a third consecutive national outdoor championship to his list of running honors.

With a time of 1:45.98, Symmonds won the men's 800-meter run at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last month in Des Moines, Iowa. He previously won the outdoor national title in the 800 at the 2009 championships and the 2008 Olympic trials, and he won the indoor national title earlier this year.

Symmonds, who majored in biochemistry and won seven NCAA Division III national championships at Willamette, now runs for Oregon Track Club Elite. He competed for the U.S. team in the 800 meters at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he advanced to the semifinals.