Kevin S. Cooper, a business student who was a member of the Bulldog football team and competed his studies in three years with a 4.0 grade-point average, was named President’s Medalist for California State University Fresno’s Class of 2006.

Fresno State President John D. Welty presented Cooper with the award during Commencement today (May 20). It is the highest honor the university gives to a graduating student. Nearly 14,000 people turned out for the Class of 2006 University Commencement ceremony in the Save Mart Center. The Division of Student Affairs reports 4,080 students completed their work in the summer, fall or spring semesters and are eligible for bachelor’s degrees.

Cooper, the Craig School of Business Dean’s Medalist, completed his B.S. in business administration, finance option. As a member of the Bulldog football team, he was the top academic performer and was named to the Academic All-WAC team for the 2004 season.

The President’s Medal winner is selected from among the nine undergraduate Dean’s Medalists who represent the academic colleges and schools and the Division of Student Affairs.

Friday night, Lejla Tricic of Bosnia, was awarded the University Graduate Medal during the Graduate Degree Hooding Ceremony for master’s and doctoral degree candidates. That medal is the top honor for a graduate student, chosen from the nine Dean’s Graduate Medal winners. Tricic is represented the College of Arts and Humanities.

The medal is awarded on the basis of academic achievement, service to the school and contributions to the community.

Cooper, who is from Lakeport in northern California, played for the Bulldogs until he was medically retired in 2005. Every semester he earned the team’s Top Dog Award for the player with the highest GPA. He not only managed his athletic and academic responsibility successfully, Cooper tutored other student-athletes on the team, said coach Pat Hill.

A frequent volunteer at Children’s Hospital Central California, Cooper also conducted a marketing and recruitment campaign for the Boys2Men/Girls2Women Foundation.

He says he has found inspiration in witnessing the joy and hope he finds in children at the hospital who face dire situations. Cooper looks forward to representing the Bulldogs not just as a former football player, but now as President’s Medalist.

“In my diverse studies at Fresno State – from biology to linguistics to political science – I have met incredibly talented and remarkable students and professors that I truly admire,” Cooper said. “I have felt an extreme sense of humbling honor as I have succeeded here these years.”

He is enrolled in the Craig School’s M.B.A. program and eventually plans to attend law school.