The Northern Illinois University (NIU) Women’s Golf Team and Rich Harvest Farms, home of the Huskies, have come together to create an annual award in memory of the late Betty Ann Rich. The “Betty Ann Rich” award is named for Betty Ann whose intellect, personality and charitable spirit was an inspiration to all who knew her and helped shape what Rich Harvest Farms and the Kids Golf Foundation signify today. 

Betty Ann Rich (1940-2013) was born on March 29, 1940 and was raised in the north side of Chicago. In 1957, she graduated from Downers Grove High School and upon receiving a scholarship, decided to further her education at Northern Illinois University. Betty Ann met Jerry Rich while both were attending NIU and they were married the night they graduated. During her lifetime, Betty Ann and Jerry continued to honor their alma mater by serving on the Board of the Foundation, donating computer labs to the GIS department, engaging students in numerous internships and class projects, as well as providing a home for the Men’s and Women’s golf teams and the equestrian team.

Betty’s strong sense of character and optimism are an inspiration to all that knew her. No matter what endeavors she encountered, her spirit was never broken and her smile never faded. She was loved by all who knew her and is deeply missed.

This year on May 28, 2014 marks the one year anniversary of the passing of the beloved Betty Ann. Although she has passed, her presence remains and is remembered through the Betty Ann Rich Award. The first annual Betty Ann Rich Award has been rewarded to Connie Ellett, a junior at NIU, who has continued Betty Ann’s legacy through her hard work and leadership on and off the golf course.

“It’s been my pleasure getting to know the Rich family over the past two years and our program really appreciates all of their help,” said Connie Ellett. “Mrs. Rich was a strong advocate for our women’s golf team and I felt incredibly honored to win an award in memory of Mrs. Rich. She set a great example for all of the girls on our team with her optimistic personality, her willingness to do community service, and strong leadership skills. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, the Rich family, and my parents for helping me become someone that possess similar qualities to Mrs. Rich. It was a fantastic award to win.”

The Betty Ann Rich award will be rewarded each year to a member of the NIU Women’s Golf Team who accumulates the most points in a criteria that ranks Athletic Performance, Academics, Community Service, Leadership and Character. While Athletic Performance, Academics and Community Service are based on numbers, the Leadership component is determined amongst the teammates as all team members are asked to rank each other. The Character component is selected by the coaching staff and all team members are individually ranked by their coaches.

“We can’t thank the Rich Family enough for their support of the NIU golf program” expresses NIU Huskies Women’s Golf Team Coach, Kim Kester. “It’s an honor to have an award in Betty’s name. We hope all our student athletes will possess the same qualities as she did in their character, leadership, community outreach, and a strong advocate for women’s golf.”

Connie is a player that represents the NIU Women’s Golf Team program in a positive manner. She is always ready to get out into the community and volunteer, holds high academic standing, and is always there for her teammates. Connie has put in a lot of hard work over the year and is well deserving of this award. She has a bright future ahead of her!

“There are many aspects of Betty that I see in Connie and I couldn’t think of a better young lady to receive the first Betty Ann Rich Award,” said Jerry Rich, President of Rich Harvest Farms and Husband to late Betty Ann. “Betty and I have long worked with NIU and to see a young lady prosper out of the NIU Women’s Golf Team like Connie is very rewarding. I know that Betty Ann would be proud of the entire NIU Golf Team Program and would be extremely grateful of this award in her honor.”

The Rich Family and NIU honored Connie Ellett with the Betty Ann Rich Award on May 27th with a private dinner at Rich Harvest Farms. Ellett received the award in the presence of her parents, the coaching staff, The Rich Family and the staff at Northern Illinois University.

For more information on Connie Ellett and the NIU Women’s Golf Team, please visit http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/w-golf/niu-w-golf-body.html

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