Former Concordia women's soccer player Roxana Saberi received the 2010 NCAA Award of Valor it was announced on Thursday.
|Saberi Earns NCAA Valor Award!|
November 12, 2009
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The NCAA has selected Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., alumna Roxana Saberi to receive its 2010 Award of Valor. The award is presented to current or former student-athletes, coaches or administrators who have shown uncommon bravery and courage in the face of grave personal danger. Saberi is one of two honorees to receive the 2010 Award of Valor.
Saberi, an international freelance journalist, became the subject of worldwide concern during her four-month imprisonment in Iran. Her extraordinarily difficult ordeal ended with her release from prison last spring.
“Concordia is extremely proud of Roxana,” says Concordia College President Pam Jolicoeur. “She showed remarkable courage and poise under intense pressure and she has already made a significant impact through her emerging career as a journalist.”
Saberi, who played soccer for the Cobbers, graduated summa cum laude from Concordia in 1997. She earned graduate degrees in international relations from Cambridge University and journalism at Northwestern University. Her early career in print and television journalism included reporting positions with media outlets in Washington, D.C., Missouri, North Dakota and Texas.
In 2003, Saberi moved to Iran, the birthplace of her father, to pursue her career and cultural interests. She regularly reported for the BBC and National Public Radio. In late January 2009, she was arrested for an alleged minor offense. Without legal counsel to defend her, Saberi was convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to eight years at Evin Prison.
Placed in solitary confinement, Saberi endured severe psychological and mental stress throughout her incarceration and she was repeatedly warned she could be sentenced to prison for 10 to 20 years, or given the death penalty. In May 2009, after 100 days in prison, the Iranian Revolutionary Court of Appeals released Saberi with a two-year suspended sentence.
“Before I went to prison on January 31, I didn’t really think much about courage,” says Saberi. “I just thought, ‘well, I’m doing a job and telling the stories of the Iranian people to people who cannot come to Iran and may not ever be able to come to Iran.” Now she believes a courageous person “focuses on something greater than yourself.”
Saberi will receive the Award of Valor at the Honors Celebration during the 2010 NCAA Convention in Atlanta in January.