The University of St. Thomas Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently honored retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Alan C. Page with its Outstanding Commitment Award for Community Service. The annual award recognizes recipients for their dedication and commitment to academic excellence in Minnesota.
In 1998, Page and his wife, Diane Sims Page, founded the Page Education Foundation on the eve of his induction to the NFL Hall of Fame. For more than 30 years, the not-for-profit organization has provided financial support to students of color in Minnesota in the form of Page Grants to pursue their educational dreams. In turn, Page Scholars help develop positive attitudes about education among elementary and middle school students by volunteering as tutors and mentors in their communities.
“The Page Education Foundation ignited my passion for service in the community and guided me on my journey to becoming a civil rights attorney,” said Dr. Artika Tyner, associate vice president of diversity and inclusion at the University of St. Thomas. “Being a Page Scholar provided me with a challenge and opportunity. I was challenged to reach my full potential as a student, scholar and citizen. I also had the opportunity to give back to my community by mentoring and tutoring elementary students.”
For the 2016-17 academic year, 518 Page Scholars were awarded more than $850,000 in Page Grants. Since its founding, the Page Education Foundation has provided more than $13 million in financial support to 6,500 Page Scholars who have volunteered more than 420,000 hours in communities across Minnesota. Today, the University of St. Thomas boasts the largest number of Page Scholars among private colleges and universities in Minnesota, with 29 current students and 138 total students since 2004.
“Justice Page serves as a role model by demonstrating the transformative power of academic excellence and servant leadership,” Tyner said. “His legacy will inspire future generations of Tommies to excel both in the classroom by soaring academically and outside the classroom by serving as global citizens who make a difference in the world.”
Page spent 15 years in the NFL playing for both the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, becoming the first defensive player in the league’s history to receive an MVP award. His persistence and devotion to helping Minnesota’s young people demonstrate the values on which the Page Foundation was built and provide a powerful example to Page Scholars.