WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota student-athlete Jase Pater will be the first to admit … he never expected this.

What started out as a class project—a senior thesis in his Case Studies in Public Relations course—Pater’s efforts to organize and coordinate the “Jogging For Jack Superhero 5K” earned national attention on Monday, when Saint Mary’s was selected as an honorable-mention award-winner of the NADIIIAA/Jostens Community Service Awards for the “One Time Project” category.

The awards program is co-sponsored by the NADIIIAA and Jostens and is intended to recognize the many contributions Division III student-athletes regularly make to their campuses and local communities. Recognition is given for projects in three categories:  One-Time Projects, An Array of Projects, and Ongoing Projects.

The “Jogging For Jack Superhero 5K,” which was held on April 10, 2016, was a fundraiser for Jack Cassidy, the 2-year-old son of Cardinal head women’s soccer coach, Neil Cassidy. Jack was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer—Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)—and required chemotherapy, steroids, and steroid injections. Since Jack was a huge fan of super heroes—especially Superman—Pater and other members of the Saint Mary’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) came up with the Superhero 5K theme.

Representatives from each of the institution’s 21 varsity athletic teams were among the 50-plus student-athletes who were involved in the logistics of the event. And over 100 student-athletes were among the more than 300 people from the Saint Mary’s community, members of the Winona community, and friends of the Cassidy family, who turned out to show their support.

The event raised more than $9,500 to help assist the Cassidy family with Jack’s medical expenses.

“I am really honored to have helped Saint Mary’s receive this award—and grateful to everyone who was involved in making it a success,” said Pater, a four-year member of the Cardinal cross country and track/field team, who graduated in May. “This award is just the icing on the cake—since I know how appreciative the Cassidy family was for all our efforts putting this event together.”

“I am very proud of our student-athletes for earning yet another national community service award—the department’s fifth in the last seven years,” said athletic director Nikki Fennern, who will accept the award at the NCAA national convention in Nashville, Tenn. “Our student-athletes’ commitment to service and leadership continues to be among the best in the nation, and is a testament to the university’s Lasallian mission.

“I am extremely grateful for the leadership of Jase Pater and our SAAC in leading this event—as well as all of the student-athletes who volunteered and participated in the event.”