McCormick’s Unsung Heroes: Celebrating Sportsmanship Since 1940
Under the leadership of former company president Charles P. McCormick, the Unsung Heroes program began in 1940 to honor high school athletes who substantially contributed to the success of their teams without receiving acclaim. The students distinguished as Unsung Heroes displayed good sportsmanship, dedication, integrity and a positive attitude both on and off the field.
In the early years of the program, high school football players from eleven Baltimore City schools were honored at a ceremony held in the Light Street headquarters building. The first Charles P. McCormick Scholarship was established to accompany the honor in 1969. Two awardees received $2,000 over four years to continue their education. Today, the awarded amount has grown to $40,000 over four years for two honorees.
Throughout the award’s history, athletic directors and coaches nominate students from participating schools. The original schools were members of the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA). Holding true to this legacy, the participating schools today belong to various leagues in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland (IAAM).
In 1953, the honor was extended to lacrosse players, in 1987 female basketball players were included in the list of honorees and in 2017 the program was opened to include athletes from all sports. Now, one male student and one female student are nominated each year from participating schools.
Of the many Unsung Hero honorees nominated each year, six are awarded scholarships after the applications are reviewed by an independent panel. One male and female athlete are awarded the Charles P. McCormick scholarship of $40,000, while two others are awarded $7,500 and two more are awarded $5,000. The scholarship funds can be put toward any costs associated with continuing their education.
Since the award’s inception in 1940, thousands of Unsung Heroes have been honored at the annual banquet and we have awarded over $1.5 million in scholarships since 1969. While many aspects of our business are global in nature, we never forget the connection we have to our local community. The Unsung Heroes award is a way to invest in the future of the city we call home and recognize a few of the remarkable students who exemplify integrity and dedication to their teams and schools.
We look forward to continuing the Unsung Heroes tradition and announcing this year’s honorees next month!