The University of Maine on Monday night recognized 276 student-athletes for their efforts in the classroom.
From among that large group, two have been recognized as the Black Bears’ most outstanding student-athletes over the last two semesters.
Football player Jeff DeVaughn and track and field competitor Lauren Magnuson have earned that distinction as they were presented on Monday with the 2019 “M” Club Dean Smith Awards.
The Smith Award is presented to UMaine’s top male and female student-athletes. To be considered, athletes are nominated by their coaches and must have demonstrated outstanding academic and athletic achievement, be of outstanding character, and must have served as a contributor and leader within their community.
In 1992, the “M” Club established the award to recognize former UMaine standout Dean Smith of Dover-Foxcroft. In 1990, he earned the top grade point average among electrical engineering majors at UMaine and was the Northeast Atlantic Conference scoring leader in men’s basketball. Smith was a three-time Academic All-American and won the prestigious NCAA Walter Byers Award as the nation’s top scholar-athlete.
Magnuson, a senior from South Portland, is an elementary education major with a concentration in social studies and a minor in disability studies. She boasts a 3.97 GPA.
The two-year track and field captain is a three-time America East all-conference selection. Her runner-up time of 24.49 seconds in the 200 meters at the America East Championship ranks second on the school’s all-time list and she finished third in the 400 meters in 55.06 seconds at the America East Outdoor Championships. She was awarded the 2018 America East Elite 18 honor, presented to the student-athlete with the highest GPA competing at the Championship event.
A member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society, Magnuson has focused her research on effective reading instruction. She has served as the vice president of the Alpha Delta Honor Society and offered her time as an UMaine student-athlete academic mentor. Magnuson devoted her time outside of UMaine toward serving as a Black Bear tutor for middle school students as well as coaching and volunteering at youth track meets.
DeVaughn, a graduate student from Folcroft, Pennsylvania, earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and physical education in August 2018, and he is pursuing a master’s degree in student development in higher education.
DeVaughn was a captain for the 2018 Colonial Athletic Association champion UMaine football team that advanced to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for the first time in school history. The safety ranked as the Black Bears’ leader in solo tackles with 56.
DeVaughn ranked fourth on the team with 74 total tackles while adding eight pass breakups and turned in a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown and made two interceptions in the Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal win at Weber State.
The two-time UMaine Special Teams Player of the Year posted 146 tackles, five interceptions, 17 pass deflections in 45 career games.
While at UMaine, DeVaughn volunteered for numerous events. He was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a co-student graduate student coordinator for Male Athletes Against Violence and helped run UMaine’s White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women, promote healthy relationships, gender equity and a new vision of masculinity.
DeVaughn also was part of the football team’s “Walking School Bus” initiative, walking children to school and reading at local elementary schools.
The “M” Club, founded in 1932, is the letter winner association of the University of Maine and has been a fixture in supporting athletics. Since the inception of varsity athletic competition at the school in 1881, nearly 20,000 men and women have earned their letter in more than 30 sports.
The “M” Club provides financial support to athletics through active letter winner and honorary member dues. Its motto reads: “Dedicated to Maine Athletics: Past, present and future.”