Advice Well Taken

Sept. 12, 2016 Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – A little advice has taken Jasmine Harris a long way.

And there’s no telling where she might end up.

Harris, a senior on the Central Michigan women’s basketball team, recalls one of those life-changing episodes from nearly a decade ago when she was a high school freshman and was called into the principal’s office.

“He said, ‘A lot of people are expecting a lot of things from you athletically, but just remember there’s more to it than that, there is more to you,’” Harris said.

She has certainly proved that.

Harris, a senior from Farmington Hills, is the recipient of the prestigious Bill Boyden Leadership Award, which goes annually to a Chippewa varsity letter winner who combines outstanding athletic performance with exemplary leadership in campus affairs and activities, along with interests or accomplishments in the arts, and community involvement.

Harris will be recognized during the CMU-UNLV football game at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 17.

Harris, who is working toward a master’s degree in political science, earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in broadcast and cinematic arts in May.

“I’m thankful for the Boyden family for having an award like this,” said Harris, who transferred to CMU from UMass prior to the 2014-15 season. “A lot of times as student-athletes the only accolades we may receive are strictly along athletic lines. But an award like this drives student-athletes to want to be well-rounded individuals, and that’s very important to me.

“As a senior I realize that this is the end of the road for me athletically and it’s important to prepare for life after graduation.”

Harris has immersed herself in volunteer campus activities, among them a mentorship program. She is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and spearheaded the women’s basketball team’s effort to collect and deliver water to Flint during the 2015-16 season.

She said she is aiming toward a career in politics, a quest that was further ingrained after she completed an internship this summer for Michigan Rep. Sander Levin.

“That’s where my passion is,” she said. “I think my involvement in volunteering and helping people has helped develop that. It stems a lot from the way I was brought up. School and the things you were involved in were always just as important to my parents as anything I did athletically.”

Harris is among a slew of returnees to coach Sue Guevara’s team, which is coming off a Mid-American Conference West Division title, an appearance in the MAC Tournament championship game, and a berth in the WNIT.

The Chippewas open the 2016-17 season on Nov. 11 at Notre Dame in a first-round Preseason WNIT game.

“Jasmine, not only is she conscientious about helping the team win championships, she’s also socially conscientious,” said Guevara, who nominated Harris for the award. “She sees what’s going on around the world and in our community and with her it’s, ‘What can I do to help? What can she, what can we, as a team, give back?’

“Things matter to her. Not only does she hold a leadership role on our team as a mentor, but she wants to do that in society. She’s looking to make the world a better place.”

Harris is the first member of the women’s basketball program to claim the Boyden Award since Sue Nissen in 1990.

“It’s been a long time since a member of the women’s program has earned the honor,” said Guevara, who is in her 10th year in charge of the program. “We’re all very happy and very proud of Jasmine.”

The Bill Boyden Leadership Award was established in memory of W.B. "Bill" Boyden, a 1935 CMU graduate. His life and accomplishments demonstrated a unique blend of athletic ability, leadership, business acumen, participation in the arts, and an extraordinary involvement in community activities.

Boyden was a football and track star who earned recognition as most valuable backfield man in his senior year at CMU and set the school 100-yard dash record, a record that stood for many years.

Boyden also served as President of CMU's Student Council and acted in several campus dramatic productions. He volunteered countless hours for CMU, reflecting his pride in, and affection for, his alma mater. He was a long-time member of the University Development Board, serving twice as its chairman.

As a member of that board, Boyden is acknowledged as the initial motivating force behind the construction of Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Boyden, who died in 1980, honored CMU during his life and the award in his name seeks to honor and continue promotion of his ideals and his university.
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