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CHARLOTTESVILLE – Dawn Staley, a three-time All-American guard at Virginia from 1989-1992 who went on to be an Olympian, WNBA all-star and head women’s basketball coach at Temple and South Carolina, will give the valedictory address May 16 at 11 a.m. on the Lawn.

During her time as a Cavalier, Staley won the ACC Rookie of the Year Award and racked up three Kodak All-American honors, two National Player of the Year awards, the Honda-Broderick Cup (1991), and helped UVa to three Final Four appearances.

While playing professionally for the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting, she began an eight-year run as head coach for the Temple University women’s basketball team in her hometown of Philadelphia, Pa.

She founded the Dawn Staley Foundation in 1996 to help at-risk youth in Philadelphia. In 2004, Staley captured her third Olympic gold medal, playing for Team USA in Athens, Greece. In 2006, the UVa’s Women’s Center chose her as that year’s Distinguished Alumna.

Since May, she has been the women’s head coach at the University of South Carolina. The Gamecocks finished the regular season with 10 wins and 17 losses and Staley pledging a turnaround in the coming seasons.

Receiving the Distinguished Alumna award, she noted her affection for the University.

“Of all my lifetime experiences, my time at the University of Virginia remains the most life-defining,” Staley said. “I am forever grateful to UVa for exposing me to difference, providing the foundation for my quest for knowledge and helping to shape and channel my competitiveness, all of which have ultimately defined me in terms of how I see and participate in the world. 

“I am proud to have been associated with such a fine institution, and I can only hope that I have brought some pride to the university that I love.”

For information on Finals Weekend, visit the Office of Major Events Web site. Additional contacts are Pam Higgins, director of Major Events, at 434-982-3099 or; Joy Arcangeli, graduation committee chair, 865-405-2408, and Christina Polenta, president of the class of 2009, 412-559-1839.

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