Jill's family, friends, UC Davis Track & Field teammates and her Delta Gamma Sorority sisters established the Jill Michelle Peckler Memorial Scholarship endowment to recognize a student-athlete who embodies Jill's compassionate heart and competitive spirit.
A 1993 graduate of Los Gatos High School, Jill was only 21, her Dad, Jim, was 52 and her brother, Jeff, just 15 years old when they tragically were killed by a drunk driver in January 1997, on their way skiing at Northstar.
Jill was a Premed Genetics Major and Dean's Honor Scholar only five months from graduation. In her first year of collegiate athletic competition, as a senior, she earned All American in the 1500 meter run.
While her athletic accomplishments were impressive, it is her strong character and beautiful soul that touched people's hearts.
Her friends said she "defined what it meant to be an Aggie ... intelligent, down-to-earth, thoughtful, selfless and real. She was hard-working and great at everything she did." Jill loved to make people laugh and do random acts of kindness like paying for the car behind her on the Benicia bridge.
Jill was well known in the Athletic Department for sharing inspirational quotes. "There is nothing too hard to be endured, too high to be attained, too good to be hoped for or too precious to be given away."
Coach Dee Vochatzer said, "In the 27 years I have been coaching, Jill was one of the most extraordinary people that I knew. She put her heart and soul into everything she did."
The student-athlete chosen for this award exemplifies Jill's exceptional balance of compassion and academic excellence. It is hoped her spirit will continue to inspire others to live their dreams.
"A candle loses none of its light by lighting another."