The Heisman Trophy Trust has named College and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page (Retired) as the eleventh Heisman Humanitarian Award Winner.
This award will be given in recognition of Page’s tireless efforts in assisting students of color achieve their dreams in furthering their education. Not only does The Heisman Trust honor the most outstanding college football player each year, but it also provides for underprivileged and underserved youth communities throughout the nation. The Humanitarian Award was created as an extension to the Heisman Trophy’s greater outreach to athletes who are providing opportunities to those less fortunate.
“I doubt that it would have occurred to anyone when I was a student that I would have accomplished the things that I have. But the path that I have traveled is not a path exclusive to me. It is a path those of us who have been privileged by good fortune can make available to all young people without regard to their economic, social, or racial background. It is simply a matter of working to create hope and provide opportunity,” stated Justice Page.
Hailing from Canton, Ohio, Page was a defensive force that proved himself as a brilliant, aggressive defender throughout his career. Page attended the University of Notre Dame and helped lead the Irish to a National Championship during the 1966 season. After graduation, the All-American was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Page played for an impressive 15 seasons in the NFL and played in an astounding 236 games with both the Vikings and the Bears. Page was a member of the Vikings famed Purple People Eaters.
Never one to slow down, Page also received his Law Degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978, while still playing for the Vikings. During the offseason Page was always busy, either staying in shape or working as an attorney. After his Hall of Fame Football career ended, his law career was taking off. Shortly after leaving the NFL, Page was working as an attorney in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. It was during this time that Page decided he wanted help out his community even more.
During his 1988 Hall of Fame induction speech, Page and his wife Diane launched the Page Education Foundation, a foundation built upon the need to give financial assistance and encouragement to students of color facing extraordinary odds while trying to achieve their dreams. Page recognized that education is a key to success and not everyone has the means to realize that goal. The Page Education Foundation helps students of color pursue postsecondary education. The Foundation awards grants to students who have a strong willingness to provide service to children and who have a positive outlook towards education. In return for their scholarship, each grant recipient provides 50 hours of volunteer mentoring and tutoring to children in grades K-8th in their community.
Page was elected to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1992, becoming the first African American to hold a seat. Page was reelected three times and stepped down due to the mandatory retirement age of 70. Page is far from done impacting the community as his foundation has provided $13 million in Page Grants and his Page Scholars have volunteered over 420,000 hours to date.
“The Heisman Trophy Trust is honored to recognize Justice Page as our Heisman Humanitarian Recipient,” stated Rob Whalen, Executive Director of The Heisman Trophy Trust. “Justice Page embodies the spirit of the Heisman Humanitarian by using his success to pave the way and provide opportunities for those less fortunate.”
Alan Page joins the company of ten other extraordinary Heisman Humanitarians including: Joey Cheek, Olympic speed skating gold medalist, for his dedication and service to the children of Darfur; George Martin, former defensive end of the New York Giants, who walked across America to raise funds for rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero after 9/11; Pat LaFontaine, former NHL star who, through his Companions in Courage Foundation, builds interactive playrooms in children’s hospitals to keep young patients connected to their families and friends; Mia Hamm, world-renowned soccer player, who raises funds and awareness for families needing marrow or cord blood transplants continues to build operations for young women in sports; Warrick Dunn, former NFL running back, who has provided homes for single parent families to honor his mother’s memory; Marty Lyons, University of Alabama and New York Jet defensive tackle, whose foundation fulfills special wishes of children with terminal or life threatening illness; Jeff Gordon, four time NASCAR Cup Series champion and founder of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which supports children battling cancer; David Robinson, former San Antonio Spurs center, who has dedicated himself to helping children and families in need in the San Antonio community; Joe Torre, legendary baseball player/manager who created the Joe Torre Safe at Home foundation that works to end the cycle of domestic violence; and Boomer Esiason, All-Pro Quarterback who’s Boomer Esiason Foundation fights cystic fibrosis.
Alan Page is an extremely accomplished athlete, lawyer, judge and humanitarian. The Heisman Trophy Trust is delighted to welcome him into the Heisman family as the 2016 Heisman Humanitarian. Justice Page will receive his award at the 82nd Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Gala on Monday, December 12th, in New York City. Tickets to the dinner gala are available online at www.Heisman.com.
About the Heisman Trophy Trust: The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletes and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for The Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted.
About the Page Education Foundation: The Page Education Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization founded by Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and former Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Alan Page. Our mission is to encourage Minnesota students of color to pursue post-secondary education. For 28 years, we have provided financial support, in the form of Page Grants to students of color. In return for their awards, our recipients, known as Page Scholars, help develop positive attitudes about education among elementary and middleschool children by volunteering as tutors and mentors in their communities.