The Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) has named Jim Thordsen '75 as the recipient of the 2012 Dr. Charles Bertram Alumni Award of Distinction. A former basketball player at Saint Joseph's College, Thordsen will be recognized by the GLVC at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Spring Awards Banquet in St. Louis, Mo. on May 22.
Thordsen has long been an advocate of Puerto Rico's athletics, tourism, and commerce ventures. The Santurce, Puerto Rico native played in the 1972 Olympic Trials and the 1976 Olympics as a member of the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team. In Montreal, the 1976 Puerto Rican team finished ninth and came within a single point of upsetting the eventual gold medal-winning United States in the preliminary rounds. Following his playing career, he collaborated as a sports coordinator for the VIII Pan American Games in 1979 and directed the planning of the Central American Games 1980-82. He is a past member of the Department of Recreation and Sports Board and founder and former president of the Basketball Players Association in Puerto Rico.
"This is a proud moment for the entire Puma Family," said Director of Athletics Bill Massoels '89. "Jimmy Thordsen is a sportsman in every sense of the word. He truly embodies the mission of Saint Joseph's College and has never wavered in his advocacy."
Thordsen was a member of the Puma basketball team from 1971-75, serving as a four-year letter winner and a three-time selection as the Indiana Collegiate Conference Most Valuable Player. He was twice selected an Academic All-American and Little All-American, which marked the first time a native of Puerto Rico was named to the Little All-American team.
He finished his career with 2,148 points and 945 rebounds in 105 games, averaging 20.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. His point and rebound totals are school records. Thordsen was also accurate from the field, having made 809 of his 1,485 attempts for a career shooting percentage of 54 percent.
Thordsen's best year at SJC was his junior season, when he averaged 25.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and shot 55 percent from the field while dishing out 84 assists in the 29 games. He guided SJC to the Indiana Collegiate Conference Championship and the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional title, before falling 80-78 to Southwest Missouri State in the NCAA Division II Championship in 1974.
Following his collegiate career, Thordsen's impact was still felt on campus. He received the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Award in 1975, and SJC granted a scholarship in his name which is given to one Puerto Rican student each year. He was named to the SJC Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
He has since founded his own company, James Thordsen, Inc., in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a sports marketing and public relations agency, holding several major international accounts, including Finlandia, Burger King, Colgate-Palmolive, and Energizer, among others. He is a member of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, for which he is on the Board of Directors, and was designated as a member of the Puerto Rico Free Commerce Treaty Commission in 1995.
The Alumni Award of Distinction is named in remembrance of Dr. Charles Bertram. Dr. Bertram served as a professor and faculty athletic representative at the University of Southern Indiana and is a former president of the GLVC. He contributed a great deal of time, energy and effort to the league's success and was instrumental in conference operations for many years.
In honor of Dr. Bertram, the Alumni Award of Distinction is presented to an individual that displays academic excellence, athletic ability and achievement, character and leadership, who has served their institutions with personal distinction since their graduation, and who has displayed postgraduate public or community service and contributions to athletics at any level.
Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.
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