Nominations from colleges and universities are now coming in for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S third annual Silver Anniversary All-America Awards. The significance of these awards has been variously expressed since the late Herman Hickman conceived the idea for them more than two years ago. I think one of the best expressions is in the words of Columnist Bill Cunningham, delivered at a Washington Touchdown Club dinner in 1957:
"Is what we keep saying really true—that the football field is one of the greatest training grounds for life? Or do the courage and leadership learned as one of football's lessons expire with the winning of a letter or the granting of a diploma? SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has provided the answer, with its Silver Anniversary Awards—to 25 lettermen of 25 seasons ago who prove beyond any doubt that football can be the forerunner of a useful, productive life of achievement and service to one's community."
Grounded in a similar conviction is the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. On October 28 at a dinner for 2,500 at New York's Hotel Astor the foundation will honor 1958's electees to the Hall of Fame and the other 153 men (110 players, 43 coaches) named since elections began in 1951. The dinner will also be the occasion for the first presentation of a gold medal to the man "who has distinguished himself by his service to football." In addition to the Hall of Famers, the 1957 Silver Anniversary All-Americas and the Boards of Judges for both 1956 and 1957 will be among the honored guests.
Recently General Douglas MacArthur, who is chairman of the foundation's National Advisory Board, made this comment: "Football is one of the greatest of character builders.... It has a marked influence, comparable to that of any other single American institution, on the moral problems which men face, not only on the field of battle but in business, in the professions and in their daily lives. It is a boon to this nation that the game has obtained such prominence and acceptance."
There could hardly be more conclusive evidence than the group to be honored on October 28.
Unless perhaps it is the man who will be making the main address that night—another onetime football player and graduate of the class of 1915 at the U.S. Military Academy: Dwight D. Eisenhower.