OXFORD, Ohio – A gift from Miami University alumna Sherry Sheffield (1967) is creating two William T. Sheffield Awards of Distinction to honor her late father and recognize those who go above and beyond in contributing to Miami Athletics and reflecting positively on the university.
The William T. Sheffield Award of Distinction will be presented annually, if warranted, to a coach, staff member or non-student volunteer and will include a monetary award. The William T. Sheffield Student Award of Distinction will be awarded to a Miami student. Both award winners will be recognized during a Miami home football game, and their names will be included on plaques within the Walter L. Gross Family Student-Athlete Development Center.
“My love for Miami started with my parents,” Sherry Sheffield said. “My father [William T. Sheffield] was a man of great honor and integrity, and being able to offer this award is my way of thanking Miami for the prominent part it played in his life. His award is not about achievement as much as it is about passion.”
William T. Sheffield was a member of Miami’s Class of 1943 who served the university in a number of capacities including as president of the Miami University Alumni Association and the Cincinnati Miami Men’s Club. He and his wife, Jeanette (1943), were a Miami Merger as well as faithful season ticket holders for Miami football and men’s basketball.
His deep appreciation for Miami dated back to his experience as a high school graduate with no money for college. Sheffield sent letters to more than 20 colleges asking if they would allow him to work his way through school, and then-Miami President Alfred H. Upham invited him to campus. Though his undergraduate career was cut short by service in World War II, Sheffield was so indebted that he returned to Miami after his military service and after earning his law degree—which at the time did not require an undergraduate degree—to finish his bachelor’s degree in 1949.
“William T. Sheffield’s story is inspiring, and the awards in his honor will be very meaningful to those we are able to recognize,” David Sayler, Miami Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said. “Miami Athletics is more than coaches and student-athletes. It is truly a family effort involving support staff, faculty and students as well as alumni and friends. We’re grateful to Sherry for this important investment in celebrating those who make Miami Athletics and Miami University great.”
Nominations can be made by alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Miami Athletics, and the inaugural awards will be presented this fall. Please submit your nomination with a supporting paragraph to Jude Killy, senior associate athletic director for external operations, at 513-529-8097 or killyja@MiamiOH.edu.
Miami University, a nationally ranked public university located in Oxford, Ohio, offers a liberal education plan, research opportunities, co-curricular activities and support that have ensured student success for more than 200 years. Nearly half of Miami’s 14,900 undergraduate students study overseas; more than half participate in internships. With median time to graduation at 3.7 years, Miami's graduation rates are some of the highest among NCAA Division I schools.