Aaron Scheidies, a 2004 graduate of Kinesiology from the Michigan State University College of Education, is one of two recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Young Alumni Award – and it’s no wonder why.
Scheidies is a physical therapist, model, public speaker and triathlete who has only 10% of the vision of a fully sighted person. Despite being born with Stargardt disease – a condition that slowly deteriorates vision – the 29-year-old has competed in more than 100 triathlons. Wildly successful in his pursuits, Scheidies is both a five-time National Champion and a four-time World Champion. He is also the world’s first and only disabled athlete to complete an international distance triathlon in less than two hours, and a 2011 ESPY Award finalist for Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
Michael Hudson, director of MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, nominated Scheidies for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The two met when Scheidies first arrived at MSU, and Hudson says he has always admired Scheidies’ sense of drive and relentless pursuit of excellence.
“He exceeds expectations, excels in academics, athletics and community service, and is now leading in a challenging career. Combine all this with a promising future and an unsurpassed Spartan identity and we all have something to celebrate with Aaron,” Hudson said. “It was an honor to highlight his accomplishments and facilitate his receipt of this recognition.”
During his time at MSU, Scheidies was the president of the Triathlon Club and volunteered more than 100 hours of his time to help other students with disabilities, all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average. In 2004, he was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame.
Scheidies will formally accept his award on Oct. 20, 2011 during Homecoming Week’s Grand Awards Ceremony.