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Big Ten Medal of Honor recipients announced for Rutgers Athletics

Jordan Pagano and Amanda Visco earned the prestigious award.

Rutgers v Army Photo by Charles Norfleet/Getty Images

With the calendar now turned to May, Rutgers held it’s 6th annual end of the school year RAwards on Tuesday. Instead of a full gala style event that typically includes many categories, this year the event was held online and only four award winners were announced.

The prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor was awarded annually for the 106th time “to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each member institution who have demonstrated excellence on and off the field throughout their college career.” The conference’s most exclusive award was the first of its kind in intercollegiate athletics to recognize academic and athletic excellence.”

The Rutgers athletes awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor were wrestling’s Jordan Pagano and Amanda Visco of women’s soccer. Both capped strong careers on the banks by earning this distinguished honor. Here are biographies written for each student-athlete by Rutgers Athletics Communications:


A two-time national qualifier, Jordan Pagano finished his collegiate career with 81 varsity wins. As a sixth-year senior in 2019-20, the South Brunswick, New Jersey native posted a 22-9 record with wins over six ranked foes to secure an at-large selection to the NCAA Championships, having also competed at the national tournament in 2017. His impressive season included victories over three top-10 opponents, as Pagano concluded the year ranked No. 15 in the country by FloWrestling. Also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Pagano was named a 2019-20 NWCA Academic All-American – the second time in his career he has appeared on the prestigious list. Along with his performance on the mat and in the classroom, Pagano has volunteered with various organizations throughout the Rutgers University community, which includes time with Embrace Kids, Rutgers Dance Marathon, Soles4Soulds, Saturday’s in Motion, Eden Autism and Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen.


An All-Big Ten and All-Region selection, Visco anchored one of the nation’s strongest back lines. The center back captained a squad that posted 11 shutouts and a 0.58 GAA in 2019, holding opponents to three shots or less on goal in 10 matches. The Manalapan, New Jersey, native also netted two goals in 2019, one of which was the game winner in the victory at Iowa. Her efforts led RU to a runner-up finish for the regular season title in two consecutive seasons. Along with the senior class, Visco helped push RU to an overall mark of 51-15-19 and a Big Ten mark of 25-7-12 in their four years “On the Banks.” Visco led a backline that totaled 48 shutouts across her career, pacing the nation in GAA in 2017. She helped propel Rutgers to four NCAA Tournaments, extending the Scarlet Knight streak to eight straight bids, 10 in 12 years and 14 appearances overall. In the classroom, the sport management major is a Scholar All-American and three-time Academic All-Big Ten and Dean’s List honoree. She was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the first national scholar-athlete society to honor collegiate student-athletes who have excelled in both the classroom and in athletic competition.

The other two award winners were Kieran Mullins of men’s lacrosse and rowing’s Rebecca Chanin, earning Big Ten postgraduate scholarships. It’s awarded annually to “two student-athletes competing in intercollegiate athletics from each of the 14 conference institutions planning to continue their education at a graduate degree program were each awarded a $7,500 scholarship. Students must have maintained at least a 3.2 grade-point-average, demonstrated leadership qualities, served as an excellent role model and intend to continue their academic work beyond their baccalaureate degree at a graduate degree program.”

Here are biographies written for each student-athlete by Rutgers Athletics Communications:


Kieran Mullins is a two-time team captain for the men’s lacrosse program. Mullins was an All-American in 2019 and is a two-time all-conference selection, earning First Team honors in 2019, and was named Second Team All-Big Ten in 2017. He was named All-ECAC in 2019 and is a two-time nominee to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List and was named a nominee for the 2020 Senior CLASS Award. A two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Mullins is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and earned the Rutgers’ Athletic Directors Award and Werblin Award in 2019. A member of the Dean’s List in all his semesters at RU, he is also a member of the National College Athletic Honor Society. Mullins has started all 47 games in his Rutgers career, scoring 99 goals with 80 assists and 179 points. He ranks eighth all-time in Rutgers’ history in points and stands 11th in goals. The Islip, N.Y. native holds a 3.79 cumulative GPA in Cell Biology and Neuroscience, and will use the postgraduate scholarship to pursue a career in medicine.


Rebecca Chanin is a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar competing on the Rutgers women’s rowing team with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Chanin helped the Scarlet Knights to program best team performances in 2018 and 2019 including the historic 2019 campaign that saw their highest Big Ten Championships result (fourth) and a No. 11 national finish at the NCAA Championships. Chanin has also claimed two Academic All-Big Ten selections. The Titusville, N.J. native is set to graduate with degrees in political science and Middle Eastern studies while she has worked on a pre-med track. Chanin is a member of the Chi Sigma Alpha National College Athlete Honor Society and the Alpha Epsilon Delta National Pre-Medical Honor Society. She won the Ruth K. Bennett Award for excellent work in political Science and the highest GPA, while earning the James Dickson Carr Scholarship for demonstrating dedication to diversity and extra-curricular activities. Chanin will utilize the postgraduate scholarship in medical school at the Robert Wood Johnson campus in New Brunswick with career aspirations of joining Doctors Without Borders.

You can watch the RAwards ceremony that was aired online here, which includes a highlight reel of the past year of Rutgers athletics and multiple speeches, including athletic director Pat Hobbs and all four award winners.