Drexel University captured the CAA Blood Challenge for the fifth year in a row following another outstanding effort. Drexel shattered all previous records with 1,105 actual donors, which resulted in 1,045 productive units of blood collected.
"As Drexel's incoming President, this was my first CAA Blood Challenge and I was able to view and absorb first-hand the incredible organizational effort extended by the athletics department in partnership with the Philadelphia Red Cross", said Drexel University President John Fry. "I could not be more proud of our athletes and all those from the Drexel community who participated in the blood challenge. Our entire University community supported this effort, which resulted in one of the highest regional one-day collections of blood and most important a chance to save thousands of lives."
"This is an incredible achievement for the Drexel University community to break the CAA Blood Challenge record for consecutive wins," said James Tucker, Senior Vice President for Student Life and Administrative Services at Drexel University. "We have been so fortunate over the past nine years to have this humanitarian effort led by the outstanding leadership of Associate Director of Athletics Dr. Rebecca Weidensaul and our Drexel student-athletes. The CAA Blood Challenge has evolved into a tradition of great importance at Drexel and has enhanced the overall school spirit."
George Mason University placed second with 727 donors. The second-place finish is the highest ever for the Patriots in the Blood Challenge as they more than doubled the number of donors from last year's drive. The University of Delaware, which won the first four CAA Blood Challenges (2002-05), finished third with 654 donors. Virginia Commonwealth University placed fourth with 439 donors. It marks the fourth consecutive year that VCU has finished in the top four in the Challenge.
Drexel became the first school in the nine-year history of the Blood Challenge to have more than 1,000 donors participate in the event. Among them was the university's Director of Athletics, Dr. Eric Zillmer.
"On a personal note, this was the first time that I donated blood; I wanted to support Drexel's amazing track record by actually participating in the ninth annual CAA Blood Challenge," Zillmer said. "Yes, I was nervous, but the American Red Cross staff was unbelievably courteous, professional and efficient. I am so proud to be part of this dragon-hearted effort."
The CAA Blood Challenge was developed by the conference presidents as a fun way to emphasize the critical importance of donating blood. Each CAA institution worked with its local blood service center and designated one day during the fall term to conduct a campus-wide blood drive. Student groups, faculty, staff and alumni were all encouraged to participate.
"I am so very proud of Drexel's fifth consecutive win of the CAA Blood Challenge" said Brigid O'Neill LaGier, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region. "Collecting 1,045 units of blood in one day is a remarkable accomplishment, one that took a great deal of coordination and planning, as well as a deep commitment from the Drexel Athletics Department. On behalf of the patients and their families that benefited from your generosity, congratulations to all the Drexel University staff and students who made this happen. You are the best!"
All 12 CAA institutions had at least 90 donors participate in the program. Towson University finished fifth with 282 donors, Georgia State University was sixth with 268 donors, followed by Hofstra University (261), UNC Wilmington (234), James Madison University (193), the College of William and Mary (141), Old Dominion University (104), and Northeastern University (90).
"To contribute nearly 5,000 units of blood from our 12 CAA campuses is an amazing accomplishment and shows the unprecedented level of support shown for this important program by all of our institutions," CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said. "The outstanding efforts put forth by our students, faculty and administrators will have a positive impact on the lives of thousands of people during a critical time for blood donations over the holiday season. The CAA would like to thank all of the people who took time to donate blood and the volunteers who have allowed this program to grow each year and have made this event such a big success."
Commissioner Yeager will present Drexel University with an award in recognition of its outstanding achievement during a basketball game this winter.