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April 20, 1999

DALLAS, Texas – Former University of Virginia women’s basketball player Val Ackerman is one of five former student-athletes selected for induction into the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame in Dallas on June 10. The announcement of the 12th class of inductees was made by NBC sportscaster Dick Enberg, spokesman for the GTE Academic All-America program and host for the ceremonies.

Ackerman is a 1981 graduate of Virginia where she was a four-year starter in basketball and a two-time Academic All-America selection. She graduated with high distinction and received the Jettie Hill Award for the highest grade point average among UVa women athletes. Ackerman played basketball professionally for one year in France before attending law school at UCLA where she earned her degree in 1985.

Following two years of work at the New York City law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Ackerman was hired by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a staff attorney in 1988. From 1990-92, she served as special assistant to NBA Commissioner David Stern before being named vice president of business affairs in 1994.

In 1996, she was appointed President of the newly established WNBA, considered one of the most successful start-up leagues in sports history and a pioneer in the advancement of women’s sports.

Ackerman is a member of many boards, including USA Basketball and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and she spearheaded the WNBA’s campaign to increase breast cancer awareness, which earned the league the Pink Ribbon Award from Self magazine in 1997.

In addition to Ackerman, the 1999 inductees to the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame include Dr. John Fowler, Jr. (UCLA, class of 1978), a star linebacker and post-graduate scholarship winner; Chad Hennings (Air Force Academy, class of 1988), the 1987 Outland Trophy winner as college football’s outstanding interior lineman; Jeannie Henningsen (Buena Vista University, class of 1987), the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer for women’s basketball; and Jolanda Jones (University of Houston, class of 1989), a three-time NCAA heptathlon champion.

“All of this year’s inductees are superior citizens,” said Enberg. “The class of 1999 will help maintain the standard of excellence established by the entire group of previous inductees who make the Hall of Fame induction such a prestigious honor.”

GTE, in conjunction with the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), established the Hall of Fame in 1988 to honor former college scholar-athletes who have excelled in their professions and have made substantial contributions to their communities. There are now 58 members of the Hall of Fame, including this year’s class.

To be eligible, an individual must have been a GTE Academic All-America team member while in school and have graduated from college at least 10 years ago with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The 1999 inductees were selected from a group of 100 individuals who were nominated by a 90-member voting board representing CoSIDA’s 1,800 members.

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