Hiram College
Graduating senior Chris Sabo wants to “do big things and put Hiram back on the map.”

With a week still left of college, he’s already well on his way.

Sabo, a communication major from Akron, is the 2011 winner of the prestigious Jim McKay Scholarship, awarded by the NCAA to one man and one woman student-athlete each year. With this recognition, he has received a $10,000 scholarship for his academic achievement and potential to make a major contribution in the sports communication industry.

Sabo’s passion is video production, and throughout his time at Hiram, he has seized every opportunity possible to gain experience.

“It’s just what I love to do,” he said. “I came to Hiram, and they didn’t really have a major that fit me perfectly, but I’m very entrepreneurial in my mindsets.”

Throughout his four years at Hiram College, Sabo has helped produce a number of videos for the college. Watch some of his contributions:HC by Jay SteeleDirty LaundryHiram College’s New DormHiram College Football 2007

Interview with Judson Laipply before Debut of Evolution of Dance 2

He started by entering a video contest for Admissions, which he won. When he picked up his check, he offered his services, should the department ever need any other help with videos.

That can-do attitude is what Jon Gordon, associate professor of communication, says has gotten Sabo to where he is.

“It’s his drive,” Gordon said. “He’s made sure that every chance he has, he finds ways of working with the video component of communication.”

In addition to making videos for Admissions, College Relations, the football team and class, Sabo had the chance to intern at NFL Films last summer, in Mount Laurel, N.J. He applied to the internship as a long shot, thinking he didn’t really have a chance. But in the end, he was selected for one of 18 positions, from a pool of 1,000 applicants.

Sabo, who has been an offensive lineman for the Terriers football team, said playing college-level football has been a driving force behind his success.

“Football builds character,” he said. “It requires a great amount of discipline. It takes a great level of commitment. You have to be on the ball 100 percent of the time when it comes to football and grades.”

“Chris is a hard-working young man both on the playing field and in the classroom,” said Head Football Coach Randy Moore.  “He always gave his best on the football field and with his projects outside his athletic career and this scholarship is a testament to that hard work.”

Communication instructor Audrey Cunningham called him the epitome of a scholar-athlete.

“It has been a pleasure to teach him, to supervise his internship last summer at NFL Films, and to help him prepare for this prestigious and highly competitive award,” she said.

Each college or university in the NCAA has the chance to nominate one student-athlete to receive the Jim McKay Scholarship. After Sabo was nominated by Hiram faculty and staff, he submitted a letter of interest, along with five or six letters of recommendation.

Sabo said it was a real honor to be selected out of such a large pool of candidates, including many from Division I and II schools. For him, this award is more than symbolic – it’s the reason he’s able to go to graduate school.

“I wasn’t planning on going to grad school,” he said. “I had been applying for jobs frantically, and I wasn’t having much luck.”

Now, he’s focusing his efforts on applying to graduate programs, in hopes of starting during spring 2012. He plans to study cinematography, and said his dream job would be working in video production for the Cleveland Browns or NFL Films.

“I’m just glad that I believed in the beauty of my own dreams,” Sabo said. “I was glad I could stick to my gut and do what I want to do instead of copping out. It’s really rewarding to have a good payoff.”

Sabo will graduate with honors on May 14. He is currently featured on the NCAA website.