Four Virginia Student-Athletes Earn ACC Postgraduate Awards
Feb. 19, 2015 CHARLOTTESVILLE – Four Virginia student-athletes have been honored with 2015 ACC Postgraduate Awards, as announced Thursday by ACC Commissioner John Swofford. Jordan Lavender (women’s track & field), Courtney Swan (women’s lacrosse), Ellen Williamson (women’s swimming & diving) and Morgan Brian (women’s soccer) are part of a list of 53 ACC student-athletes who have been selected for the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award. Brian was one of eight ACC student-athletes to earn an honorary award.
The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker postgraduate scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $5,000 toward his or her graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sport, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community. An additional eight student-athletes who plan to enter a professional career in their chosen sport were named honorary recipients.
The 53 student-athletes will be honored at the annual Cone Health ACC Postgraduate Luncheon hosted by the Nat Greene Kiwanis Club and presented by ESPN on April 15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.
Lavender (Nashville, Tenn.), a three-time ACC champion in the 400m (2013 outdoors, 2014 indoors and outdoors), has been a standout sprinter throughout her career. She has broken four school records during her career, setting records in the indoor 200m and 400m and as a member of the 4x400m relay both indoors and outdoors. Lavender was named the top track performer at both the 2014 ACC Indoor and Outdoor Championships. A media studies major, she has hosted weekly interviews of her teammates on VirginiaSports.com over the past three years. A member of the Student-Athlete Mentor (SAM) council, she has also volunteered with Pancakes for Parkinson’s and cleaning a section of the Rivanna Trail.
Swan (Vero Beach, Fla.), a 2014 IWLCA Second-Team All-American, helped lead Virginia to the NCAA semifinals last season where she was named the winner of the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Elite 89 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA at the championship. The kinesiology major has been among the top players in the nation in draw controls each of the last two seasons as well as finishing the 2014 campaign in the top-10 in the ACC in points. In 2014, Swan garnered IWLCA All-South Region First Team and second-team All-ACC honors as well as being a nominee for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the most outstanding American college lacrosse player.
Williamson (Fort Mitchell, Ky.) is a six-time All-American and six-time ACC Champion for the Virginia women’s swimming and diving program. A 12-time ACC selection, Williamson has been a member of three ACC-record relays, including the 200 medley relay, the 400 medley relay and 800 free relay. Williamson has been a major contributor to three ACC Championships for the Cavaliers and also a force in the classroom. She has been named to the All-ACC Academic Team and to the CSCAA Scholar All-America Team three times and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District III At-Large First Team in 2014.
Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.), one of only four women’s players in history to win the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy in consecutive years, had one of the most distinguished careers in the history of college soccer. A three-time NSCAA first-team All-American, she helped lead UVa to reach the 2013 and 2014 NCAA College Cups and the 2012 ACC Championship. Brian has already made over 20 appearances for the United States Women’s National Team and was the only collegiate player on the USWNT roster for CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying last fall. She has been a three-time member of the All-ACC Academic Team and also mentors area youth as part of UVa Women’s Soccer “Girls Can” Club.
The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, the first three ACC commissioners. The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletics at Wake Forest University. His early leadership and uncompromising integrity are largely responsible for the excellent reputation enjoyed by the ACC today.
Robert C. James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.
Eugene F. Corrigan assumed his role as the third full-time commissioner on September 1, 1987, and served until August of 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure, ACC schools captured 30 NCAA championships and two national football titles.