NIC Alumni Association honors outstanding alumni

The North Idaho College Alumni Association recently named this year's outstanding alumni awards recipients.

|photo1|Jason Bay, '98, was recently honored with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for achievements in his Major League Baseball career. The Distinguished Alumni award is the association's most prestigious award presented to NIC alumni for a record of significant achievement in a chosen field of interest or profession.

A native of Trail, British Columbia, Canada, Bay played for the NIC Cardinal baseball team from 1997 to 1998, breaking single-season records in homeruns with 21 and a .447 batting average during the 1998 season. He finished his NIC baseball career with 29 homeruns, 126 hits, 91 runs and a two-season batting average of .419.

In 1999, Bay transferred to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., and continued posting strong offensive numbers. He hit .360 with 20 homeruns and 74 RBIs in 52 season games. As a senior, he won the West Coast Conference batting title with a .388 average, 15 homeruns, 80 hits and 60 runs scored, which ranked him in the top 10 in those categories for single-season records.

Bay finished his career with Gonzaga 26th in the National Collegiate Athletic Association for homeruns per game, 19th in RBIs and fifth in the West Coast Conference with 20 homeruns. He finished third on the career homerun list for Gonzaga with 35. Bay also won All-Conference honors in 1999 and 2000.

Bay was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 22nd round of the 2000 draft and debuted with the Sand Diego Padres in May 2003. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in August of 2003. In his second season with the Pirates, Bay won the Baseball Writers' Association of America's prestigious Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Elizabeth Beechler was selected by the NIC Alumni Association as the 2005 Alumnus of the Year for her commitment and dedication to the association and the college.

Beechler graduated from NIC in 1998 and later joined the NIC Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2001.

Beechler is not only a member of the NIC Alumni Association, but also an active volunteer, contributing time, talent and service to the organization.
She currently sits on four alumni association board committees, two of which she chairs, and has been the secretary of the organization for three terms.

Beth Paragamian was recognized as the 2005 Honorary Alumnus of the Year for her involvement in the NIC Alumni Association's Wild Game Feast.

The Wild Game Feast offers a four-course meal of unique, wild game delicacies each winter as the association's annual fundraiser to raise money for student scholarships.

Paragamian, a wildlife education specialist for the Idaho Fish and Game Department, Idaho Panhandle National Forest and Bureau of Land Management, has provided the wildlife displays at every Wild Game Feast since the first event in 1999. Each year, she tailors a display of taxidermy animals to suit the menu, creating a fun and educational atmosphere for the event.

Although not an alumna herself, Paragamian's daughter attended NIC, so Paragamian is supportive of the college's endeavors as well as those of the alumni association.

“NIC's alumni are so important to the history and the future of this institution,” NIC Alumni Association President Laurie Thomas said. “That's why we're proud to honor these outstanding alumni for their contributions to both NIC and their communities.”

Beechler and Paragamian were presented their awards recently at a reception in their honor. Bay was unable to attend.

For More Information
NIC Alumni Relations Coordinator Sara Fladeland, (208) 769-7806

Posted: Friday, Aug. 26, 2005

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