Recent College of Arts & Letters alumna, Amanda Ling, who was a member of Michigan State University’s Varsity Swim and Dive team, received this year’s Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor, which is presented to a male and female student-athlete at each Big Ten institution for outstanding athletic and academic achievement.
Ling graduated in May with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She also was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, which earned her the Board of Trustees Award for achieving the highest scholastic average at the end of her undergraduate career at MSU.
The Big Ten Conference also just released its list of Distinguished Scholars and Ling was among those earning this honor, which was established by the Big Ten in 2008 to supplement the Academic All-Big Ten program. During the previous academic year, Distinguished Scholar Award recipients must have earned Academic All-Big Ten recognition, been enrolled full time at their institution for the entire academic year, and earned a minimum 3.70 GPA, excluding any summer grades. This is the third time Ling has received both the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award and the Academic All-Big Ten selection.
A diver, Ling won the year’s most prestigious academic honor of the 2020-2021 swimming and diving season, the NCAA’s Elite 90 Award. She is only the second MSU student-athlete to earn this prestigious honor. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships. In addition, Ling was one of eight Spartan senior student-athletes to share the prestigious President’s Award at the Student Athlete Support Services (SASS) Academic Gala.
“MSU has taught me that I can overcome adversity and push myself to achieve things that I only dreamed were possible if I work hard enough,” Ling said. “I have also learned how important it is to surround yourself with people who lift you up and will support you in who you are.”
A four-time Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Scholar All-American and a 2020 CSCAA All-America selection in one-meter and three-meter diving, Ling advanced to the NCAA Championship weekend as a senior for the first time in her career, where in the 1M diving competition she scored a 247.95 to finish 37th overall nationally.
During her time at MSU, she also participated in community outreach with the Refugee Development Center of Lansing, Soldier’s Angels, the Children’s Miracle Network, and the Salvation Army Toy Shop, among other initiatives. Ling plans to attend The Ohio State University in the fall to work toward an M.A. in Adolescent, Post-Secondary, and Community Literacies and will continue her collegiate diving career as a member of The Ohio State Swimming and Diving Team. She is the second member of her family to earn the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor. Her older sister, Jessica Ling, who is a former Spartan gymnast and a Kinesiology major, received the award in 2019.