University of Northern Iowa senior Marvin Singleton’s contributions on the basketball court can sometimes go unnoticed.
His achievements off the court have not. He recently received the Missouri Valley Conference Leadership and Service Award, an accolade that honors achievements of exceptional student-athletes. To earn the award, an individual must demonstrate good citizenship, significant community service and be in good academic standing.
The criteria fit Singleton perfectly. He has been a member of the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll for three semesters, and volunteered for multiple organizations throughout the Cedar Valley. Singleton’s favorite opportunities have been mentoring a student at Lincoln Elementary in Waterloo, and serving as a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club and Adapted Basketball.
“To be recognized for your community involvement and for others to see your hard work always feels good,” said Singleton. “It is important to me to give back to the community regardless of if I was recognized for the award or not. I know that I am still doing a good deed and making a change in other people's lives. It makes me happy to put a smile on somebody's face and make a difference in someone's life.”
Singleton, who will graduate in May with a Marketing degree, learned what it meant to be a well-rounded student-athlete long before his time at UNI. His parents, Marvin and Meta, stressed the importance of academics to his son at a young age.
“I was raised to be well-rounded,” Singleton said. “It is what I know and how I go about things. I learned at a young age that I couldn’t play sports if I had bad grades and got in trouble at school. That is one thing that always pushed me to make sure that I took care of my business.”
The Minneapolis native has been a key member to the Panthers’ historic 2014-15 season, starting all 33 games for a team that has tied a school record with 30 wins. Singleton’s hard-working spirit has helped UNI earn its best national ranking in school history (No. 10) and win its fourth MVC Tournament Championship.
“It has been great,” said Singleton, a member of the 2014-15 MVC Most Improved team. “We had a season that we didn't expect to have my junior year. That was a lot of motivation. I have never wanted to leave my career here without winning something. All the sacrifice and hard-work is to have a season like this. It feels good to finally have a season like this and for it to be my senior year.”
While Singleton’s time at UNI is coming to an end, he and the Panthers have one thing they still want to accomplish.
“To be able to have the success we are having this year and make a mark in UNI men's basketball history is an honor,” said Singleton. “It feels great that people will never forget this team. I know that we won the conference championship, but that's not enough. We want to get to a national championship.”
The Panthers will play in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Seattle, Wash. The No. 5 seed Panthers will take on No. 12 seed Wyoming.
Singleton’s college experience has been aided by the William S. Smith Men’s Basketball Endowed Scholarship and The Mudd Group Athletic Scholarship. Interested in helping students have opportunities like Marvin’s? Visit the UNI Foundation website to discover how you can make a difference in the lives of students at the University of Northern Iowa.