Hellebostad, Williamson Claim Diehm, Self Inspirational Awards
Jan. 10, 2012
The winner of the L.F. "Tow" Diehm Inspirational Award for 2010-11 is Tor-Hakon Hellebostad (men's skiing), while Kelly Williamson (volleyball) is the recipient of the Leslie Self Inspirational Award.
Started in 1997-98, this is the 14th year the awards have been presented to a UNM male and female student-athlete based on leadership, character, determination and commitment to team.
This year's recipients will be recognized at halftime of an upcoming men's basketball game. Presenting the awards will be Tow's daughter, Teresa Austin, and Randy Self.
A native of Nesoddtangen, Norway, Tor-Hakon Hellebostad was a three-time All-American Nordic (cross country) skier and a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American.
Hellebostad earned his bachelor's degree in Finance from UNM in December of 2010, compiling a 4.06 cumulative grade-point-average. He completed his master's degree in International Management from UNM in December.
Adversity and personal tragedy struck Hellebostad during his first year at UNM. In the fall of 2007, his grandmother passed away in Norway. His mother's house was destroyed by a fire right before Christmas followed by the death of his father in January of 2008.
Hellebostad traveled back to Norway to attend both funerals and, even with all of the hardship, he earned All-America status at the 2008 NCAA Skiing Championships and posted a GPA of more than 4.0 for the 2007-08 academic year.
A two-time captain for the UNM men's Nordic team, Hellebostad was a four-year participant at the NCAA Skiing Championships and a four-time NCAA Ski Association Academic All-American. He was named UNM's Scholar Athlete of the Year at the annual Scholar-Athlete Banquet in May of 2011.
Kelly Williamson (Buenos Aires, Argentina) has logged phenomenal achievements - on and off the volleyball court - in her time at UNM.
First and foremost is that Williamson was a candidate for a prestigious Rhodes scholarship last fall. She currently has a 3.99 GPA, majoring in Conservation Biology with a minor in Sustainability.
In December, Williamson was selected to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-AmericaR Division I Volleyball first team. She is the first Lobo selected to the first team and also the program's first-ever repeat academic All-America recipient. Williamson was third team Academic All-America in 2010. She has been on the UNM Dean's List all three years.
Staying true to her academic background, Williamson organized annual "Green Games" during her UNM playing career. She spearheaded "Love Red, Live Green," a promotion designed to teach fans about environmental consciousness, recycling and sustainability.
At a match in September, recycling and composting bins were set up around Johnson Center and fans were asked to deposit their trash in the appropriate receptacles so that no waste from the match ended in a landfill. In addition, reusable bags, water bottles and energy-efficient light bulbs were distributed. A brief sustainability presentation was made between the second and third sets.
The past two summers Williamson worked internationally, studying rainwater harvesting systems in Nepal in 2010 and volunteering with The Nature Conservancy during a volleyball tour of China in July.
Williamson also participated in "Grass Bash," which raises money for the UNM Children's Hospital, and "Dig Pink," a fund raiser for the UNM Cancer Center. She has read to students at local elementary schools and visited the UNM Children's Hospital.
Williamson is a committee representative to the UNM Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a student senator in ASUNM (Associated Students of the University of New Mexico). She was also named the 2010-11 Lobo Club Student-Athlete of The Year for community service contributions and academic excellence.
On the court, Williamson was a four-year letterwinner and team captain as a senior. She competed in the USA Challenge Invitational tournament last June for the Bring it Promotions (BIP) / USA Development Team. BIP, in conjunction with USA Volleyball, sent two teams of top-level collegiate players to compete in the event in Beijing, China.
About Tow Diehm
About Leslie Self
Previous Award Winners
Tow Diehm Award
Leslie Self Award