CHARLOTTE, N.C. --
Marines from around the country were in Charlotte, N.C., to help the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association celebrate 100 years of academic and athletic excellence during the CIAA’s annual basketball tournament, Feb. 27 through Mar. 3.
The CIAA, made up of 13 historically black colleges and universities, has partnered with Marine Corps Recruiting Command for the past 11 years, giving the command the opportunity to connect with and spread its message of opportunity to the nearly 200,000 basketball players, fans, students, university officials and local influencers in attendance.
Given the shared values of the Marine Corps and the CIAA, such as teamwork, leadership, academic and athletic excellence and history, the partnership between the two organizations is a natural fit.
“History is very important to the Marine Corps and it is very important to the CIAA,” said Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr., commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Forces Africa. “We’re proud to help the CIAA celebrate 100 years of academic and athletic excellence and we salute them for their efforts to make scholars, student-athletes and leaders.”
In addition to the proud history of both organizations, the Marine Corps and CIAA also place importance on similar values.
“The CIAA reminds me a lot of the Marine Corps in that both organizations honor teamwork, academic and athletic excellence and leadership,” said Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds, commanding general, Eastern Recruiting Region and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
Teamwork, one of the most important factors in sports and in the success of the Marine Corps, was on full display during the basketball games, further exemplifying values the CIAA shares with the Corps.
“The team is bigger than the individual,” said Lt. Gen. Paxton.
For the patriotic crowd in attendance, the presence of Marines helped make the centennial celebration even more special.
“It makes me proud to see the Marines celebrating the 100th anniversary of our conference because of everything the Marine Corps does for our country and everything they stand for,” said Gloria Morris, a former student at Bowie State University.
As part of the Marine Corps’ partnership with CIAA, Marines played a key role in two hall of fame induction ceremonies, presenting USMC Excellence in Leadership Awards to those who display Marine Corps values in their everyday lives.
“The Excellence in Leadership award is for individuals who stand out and exhibit Marine Corps values in their daily lives and careers,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commanding general, MCRC.
Receiving awards from the Marine Corps were Jerry D. Johnson, a longtime baseball, basketball, football and volleyball official with the CIAA and Dr. Bernard W. King, executive vice president of membership and student-athlete affairs and chief inclusion officer, National Collegiate Athletic Association.
In addition to presenting awards, Marines also had the chance to interact with CIAA university presidents and important community influencers from the Charlotte area during the President’s Reception at Time Warner Cable Arena, Mar. 2.
“We recognize not just what the Marine Corps does for the CIAA, but for all HBCUs,” said Dr. Mickey L. Burnim, president, Bowie State University, addressing the crowd gathered for the reception.
If you are interested in learning more about the history, teamwork and tradition of Marines, visit www.Marines.com or call 1-800-MARINES.