Diem Receives Outstanding Alumnus Honor from Alma Mater
INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Diem has started for the Colts at right tackle the past five seasons, and for seven seasons he has been a fixture on the team's offensive line.
Recently, he was honored by his alma mater.
Diem, who played four seasons for Northern Illinois University, from 1997-2000, recently was honored with the school's 2008 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
"I was absolutely surprised and very honored to receive this award,'' said Diem, a Carol Stream, Ill., native who accepted the award at the Northern Illinois Alumni Association Awards Dinner on April 24 at the Barsema Alumni Center in DeKalb, Ill.
"I was excited to be in the presence of all of the award winners at the dinner on Thursday. I really appreciated the chance to play football and the education that I received at NIU.''
Diem, who played at NIU from 1997-2000, was a team captain in each of his final two seasons, and made the academic honor roll every semester of his NIU career. He started 35 consecutive games for NIU and did not allow a sack as a junior or senior.
After earning a bachelor's degree in engineering and engineering technology, he was selected by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft.
Diem's off-field involvements were a major reason for the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, given annually to an individual who has exhibited outstanding accomplishments within 10 years of earning an undergraduate degree from NIU.
Diem is an active participant in the Colts' Community Tuesdays program, which sends players into the community each Tuesday during the season. He also sponsors an annual reading contest at Calhoun Grade School in Chicago and is involved with etiquette programs which help children learn appropriate behaviors.
Along with his wife, Julie, Diem is actively involved with the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF). For the last three years, they have hosted "Ryan Diem's Allie and Friends Golf Classic," raising more than $300,000 for cancer research.
Last year, the Diems made a generous gift to name the Offensive Staff Meeting Room in the new Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center.
"I feel very fortunate to be able to give back,'' Diem said. "I look at it as a gift and it is something that is imant to me and to my family.''