Bivins, Jackson, Rudnik Earn ACC Postgraduate Scholarships

Feb. 25, 2014

Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today a list of 44 student-athletes who have been selected for the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award, including Georgia Tech’s Shayla Bivins (basketball), Will Jackson (football) and Alysha Rudnik (softball).

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.

In addition to those receiving scholarship funds, six student-athletes will receive the Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award. Three men’s soccer players – Clemson’s Alex Stockinger, NC State’s Fabian Otte and Notre Dame’s Harrison Shipp – are among the recipients, along with women’s soccer player Molly Menchel of Virginia, football player Ross Cockrell of Duke and men’s basketball player Raphael Akpejiori of Miami.

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.

Prior to 1994, the Weaver-James postgraduate scholarships were given as separate honors. The Jim Weaver Award, which originated in 1970, recognized exceptional achievement on the playing field and in the classroom, while the Bob James Award, established in 1987, also honored outstanding student-athletes.

The Thacker Award, which originated in 2005, is given in honor of the late Jim and Pat Thacker of Charlotte, N.C. Jim Thacker was the primary play-by-play announcer for the ACC’s first television network. Recipients of the award must demonstrate outstanding performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through postgraduate studies at an ACC institution.

The 50 student-athletes will be honored at the annual ACC Postgraduate Luncheon presented by ESPN on April 16, 2014, in the Guilford Ballroom at the Sheraton Greensboro at the Four Seasons.

Shayla Bivins
Georgia Tech; Science, Technology & Culture; Women’s Basketball; Jacksonville, Fla.

Senior Shayla Bivins is a captain of the Georgia Tech women’s basketball team and has started every game of her senior season at center. Bivins is a four time member of the ACC Honor Roll. She is the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board and is the Student Government Association Athletic Representative. She is highly involved in community service initiatives, including the Girls on the Run program. Bivins was named the 2014 WBCA Allstate Good Works Team and was one of two student-athletes chosen to serve on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee.

Will Jackson
Georgia Tech; Business Administration; Football; Knoxville, Tenn.

Will Jackson, a four-year starter on the Georgia Tech offensive line, played the 2013 season as a graduate student after earning his undergraduate degree in May of 2013. Jackson, who is pursuing his MBA at Tech, played in 48 career games with 42 starts. A three-time Academic All-ACC selection, Jackson was a leader on an offensive line that paved the way for the Yellow Jackets to rank in the top 10 nationally in rushing each of the last four seasons. Jackson, a Dean’s List student and former member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, earned honorable mention All-ACC honors in 2013.

Alysha Rudnik
Georgia Tech; Business Administration; Softball; Lawrenceville, Ga.

Alysha Rudnik, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., is a four-year starter on the Georgia Tech softball team. She is a two-time first team All-ACC selection, and a three-time ACC Honor Roll and ACC All-Academic team honoree. She garnered the Georgia Tech Top Female Scholar Athlete Award for the 2012-13 school year and was named a 2013-14 Peach of an Athlete as selected by the Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. A contributor in the community, Rudnik has been involved in eight community service groups, including the Girls on the Run and Michael Isenhour Toy Drive since her freshman year.

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