MTU’s Sproule receives GLIAC’s Tom Donahue Service Award

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 4:44 PM EDT
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BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Tech Professor Emeritus Bill Sproule is the 28th recipient of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) “Tom Donahue Service Award.” Sproule was honored at the Fall GLIAC Management Council reception Monday (Oct. 4) in Big Rapids, Michigan.

Sproule, who worked in government, consulting, university teaching and research in Canada and the United States, served as Tech’s Faculty Athletic Representative from 2010-21. He served on numerous GLIAC committees, including Executive Committee, Awards, Constitution & Bylaws, Eligibility and Membership. He attended the NCAA FAR Fellow (2012) and Advanced Fellow (2017) Leadership Institute. Sproule has mentored many, including new GLIAC FAR appointees, and been a valuable leader to the GLIAC’s evolving membership.

The Donahue Service Award, established in 1988, is selected by administrators from around the league. It is presented to a current or former administrator at a conference school who made significant contributions to the GLIAC and intercollegiate athletics and exemplifies the highest standard of dedication to the league and its student-athletes set by former GLIAC commissioner Tom Donahue. It was last presented in 2017 to former Grand Valley State Director of Athletics Tim Selgo. Sproule is Michigan Tech’s third recipient after Rick Yeo was honored in 2006 and Ted Kearly in 1990.

“Bill has played an important role with the conference during his time as Michigan Tech’s FAR,” GLIAC Commissioner Kris Dunbar said. “He sat on many GLIAC and NCAA committees, establishing himself as a leader among FARs while serving the league and his own program. Bill took his role seriously and advocated for student-athletes. He’s a valued member of the league and a terrific person.”

“One of the roles that I am particularly proud of is the encouragement and support of our student-athletes in applying for GLIAC, WCHA, and NCAA scholarships, and they have had good success in being awarded post-graduate and finishing scholarships,” Sproule said.

Sproule also served on numerous committees at MTU related to student-athletes and coaches.

“One cool assignment that I had was to draw cartoons for athletic department greeting cards,” he said.

Sproule, a Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native, received a BSCE from Michigan Tech, a M.Eng. in civil engineering from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering (transportation) from Michigan State University. He joined the faculty in civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech in 1996. He recently retired and is now a Professor Emeritus. His teaching and research interests included airport design, transportation planning, traffic engineering, public transit, and hockey history. He has been active in many professional associations and has received several awards including the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award and the ASCE Robert Horonjeff Award for his work in airport engineering.

Sproule co-authored the airport textbook, “Planning and Design of Airports,” and several ASCE airport and automated people mover conference proceedings, and authored two regional interest books, “Copper Country Streetcars,” and “Houghton: The Birthplace of Professional Hockey.” His most recent book, “Michigan Tech Hockey: 100 Years of Memories,” will be available before the New Year.

The previous award recipients are:


1988George MacDonald, Grand Valley State University

1989Bob Hensee, Hillsdale College

1990Ted Kearly, Michigan Technological University

1991Barb Patrick, Northern Michigan University

1992Bud Cooper, Lake Superior State University

1993Vern Norris, Commissioner, GLIAC

1994Dorothy Dreyer, Wayne State University

1995Dr. Thomas Hendrix, Grand Valley State University

1996Jack McAvoy, Hillsdale College

1997Jack Finn, Northwood University

1999Bob Becker, Saginaw Valley State University

2000Chris Petrouleas, Wayne State University

2001Joan Boand, Grand Valley State University

2002Dr. Charles Jones, Lake Superior State University

2003Dr. Mark Kosciuszko, Ferris State University

2004Michael Corbett, Gannon University

2005Bob Wendling, Ashland University

2006Rick Yeo, Michigan Technological University

2007Bill Crawford, Lake Superior State University

2008Bob Brennan, Wayne State University

2009Tom Brown, Commissioner, GLIAC

2010George Eastland, Saginaw Valley State University

2011Tom Kirinovic, Ferris State University

2012Arend D. Lubbers, Grand Valley State University

2013Dr. Bonnie Tiel, Tiffin University

2014Bill Goldring, Ashland University

2017Tim Selgo, Grand Valley State University

2021Bill Sproule, Michigan Tech University

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