Feb. 17, 2009
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech women’s basketball team in conjunction with The Wreckin’ Crew, the team’s booster organization, will host the fifth-annual Women Out Front celebration this Thursday, Feb. 19, when it recognizes this year’s class at halftime of the women’s basketball game against Maryland.
Women Out Front was started so that the young women who will lead our country tomorrow can show appreciation for those who have paved the way today. The two groups will welcome 11 outstanding women, who have made a significant impact in their individual fields in the Atlanta area or in women’s basketball, into the class of 2009.
“We are extremely honored to recognize the latest group of Women Out Front,” Assoc. A.D./Senior Women Administrator Theresa Wenzel said. “Each of the honorees serves as a role model for our student-athletes in different ways. These women are great ambassadors for both Georgia Tech and the Atlanta community as displayed by both their professional and personal accomplishments.”
For the fifth straight year Vann Jernigan Florist will sponsor the event. Founded in 1945 by Vann Jernigan, they have enjoyed an excellent reputation for providing elegant and artistic arrangements to some of Atlanta’s most demanding corporations and distinguished individuals.
Among the 11 recipients is former Yellow Jacket standout Danielle Donehew, who is currently the Executive Vice President of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. Since joining the team in April, 2008, she has played a key role in the team’s finances and operations, managing the budget and supervising the front office of the WNBA franchise.
Prior to joining the Dream, Donehew spent seven years with the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball program, most recently serving as the Assistant Athletics Director for Basketball Operations. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science in Sports Administration from the University of Tennessee.
At Georgia Tech, Donehew excelled on the basketball court where she established herself as one of the premier perimeter shooters, finishing third all-time in the Atlantic Coast Conference for three-point field goals made. Donehew was the recipient of numerous accolades during her collegiate career, including: Georgia Tech’s NCAA Woman of the Year Representative, Academic All-American, GT Total Person Spotlight Award, Georgia Tech Robert Cup Winner, Georgia Tech Basketball Iron Athlete Award, Homer Rice Award Scholarship and an ACC Post Graduate Scholarship.
Others being honored at the Women Out Front celebration include:
Janna Baker: Atlanta Director of GoGirlGo!, a program of the national Women’s Sports Foundation. GoGirlGo! She works directly with community organizations to provide physical activity related participation opportunities for underserved girls. A Georgia native, Baker began her career as a youth program facilitator at a small anti-violence organization in Jonesboro, Georgia. From that point, she moved into nonprofit fundraising at organizations such as United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, Cool Girls and the Georgia Transplant Foundation. Janna is also a member of 9to5 for working women, a board member of the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault Center and a member of legislative committee of the Georgia Women’s Policy Group. Janna recently received her Masters degree in social work from Georgia State University focused on economic justice policy and its effect on women’s health.
Chryste Gaines: An academic advisor at Georgia Tech, Gaines was a high school star. She competed in the Olympic Trials at age 17. She earned a degree in psychology, completing the pre-med requirements, while at Stanford; 2001 U.S. Outdoor 100m champion; 2-time U.S. Indoor 60m champ (01, 02); 1996 Olympic 4x100m gold medalist; 2000 Olympic 4x100m bronze medalist; 3-time World Champs 4x100m gold medalist (1995, 1997, 2001); 2003 World Outdoor 4x100m silver medalist; 2001 World Indoor 60m bronze medalist. Prior to the Sydney Olympics, Gaines worked with her sponsor to run a nationwide contest for 13-14 year old students-the students were asked to write an essay on what they thought it took to be an Olympian. The top four essay authors, two boys and two girls, won a trip to the Games; participated in the 2008 Olympic Trials quarterfinals.
Courtney Shealy Hart: An Assistant Swim Coach at Georgia Tech, Hart is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalists-Sydney 2000. Along with her Olympic honors, Hart is also a two-time world record holder for the 400 Freestyle Relay Long Course and 400 Medley Relay Short Course, NCAA Swimmer of the Year, the first ever in SEC history to win four consecutive titles in the 100 meter freestyle, participated in several international championships, and the first female NCAA Division I athlete to compete in two varsity sporting events in one day: swimming and volleyball . Her academic performance is equally impressive: graduated from the University of Georgia, Cum Laude-Bachelor and Masters Degrees, a Presidential Scholar, and an Academic All American (1997-2000). Before joining Georgia Tech Swimming and Diving, she was an Assistant Swim Coach with University of North Florida. She continues to work with elementary through high school students through Arby’s Restaurant Group’s “Values of a Champion Program” which she manages and produces to develop character education as taught by an athletic role model. Courtney has been a motivational speaker for Coca Cola Enterprises “Women in Sports” and Healthsouth’s “Go for It” road show.
Rosie Jones: Owner-Rosie Jones Golf Getaways and LPGA Champion. Early in her amateur career, she won the New Mexico Junior Championship three consecutive years and in 1979 was the New Mexico State Champion. In 1981, while in her fourth year of varsity golf at Ohio State University she was honored as All-American. Her first professional win was at the Rail Charity Golf Classic in 1987. The following year she captured the USX Golf Classic Title, Nestle World Championship and the Santa Barbara Open. As Ms. Jones’ career continued to soar she won the Rochester International in 1991, the Pinewild Women’s Championship in 1995 and the LPGA Corning Classic in 1996 and 1997. Again in 1998, she won the Wegman’s Rochester International. In 1999, she was the Firstar LPGA Classic Champion and won the Kathy Ireland Championship in 2001. Jones has 13 career victories along with two international victories and two Legends Tour victories which ranks her seventh in career earnings. She competed on seven U.S. Solheim Cup Teams. (The Solheim Cup is a biennial golf tournament for professional women golfers contested by teams representing Europe and the United States. It is named for the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer Karsten Solheim, who was a driving force behind its creation); 2000-03 member of the LPGA Player Executive Committee and served as co-vice president in 2003. Jones was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.
Kathy Messer: A Logistics Management Specialist and Division Chief, Department of the Army-Cruise Missile Defense Systems. Messer was the Arkansas High School Player of the year in girls basketball in 1979 and led her team to the State and Overall State Championship. She attended Panola Junior College in Carthage, Texas on an athletic scholarship. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and was ranked eighth in her class. She also attended Centenary College, in Shreveport, La., on an athletic scholarship and graduated Cum Laude. She received her first Masters Degree in Educational Psychology from Liberty University in Virginia and her second Master’s Degree in Aviation Management from Central Missouri State University. In her spare time she coaches a boy’s 10 and under basketball team. She loves working with children, watching them improve and gain confidence. Messer is the sister of associate head coach for the women’s basketball team Sytia Messer.
Randi Passoff: Founder and Executive Director, It’s The Journey, Inc. and the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Her personal fight with breast cancer led her to create the 2-Day Walk in 2003, an event that raises money for Atlanta-area breast cancer organizations. Because of her determination and vibrant personality, Passoff has become a local breast cancer awareness icon. A recipient of several awards, in 2008, Randi received the Atlanta Braves Diamond of Hope Award, WXIA-TV’s 11Alive’s Community Service Award and the City of Sandy Springs’ Martin Luther King, Jr., Humanitarian Award for her dedication and support of Atlanta breast cancer organizations. In 2007, she was honored as a Yoplait Breast Cancer Champion by Yoplait and Self magazine. Passoff is a native Atlantan who resides in Sandy Springs with her husband, Carl. They have three children, Michael, Lon and Stephanie, as well as three grandchildren, Ally, Jacob and Payton. Passoff studied at Kent State in Ohio, where she received a gymnastics scholarship, and DeKalb College.
Stephanie Ray: The Associate Dean of Students and the Director of the Office of Diversity Programs-Georgia Tech, Ray is a graduate of Western Kentucky University where she majored in speech communication and history and a Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Services in Higher Education. Ray is a regional consultant, keynote speaker, and workshop facilitator who speaks on a number of areas, including diversity and gender issues, leadership development and communication skills. She is also a member of Toastmasters International and is a certified diversity trainer for the National Coalition Building Institute and completed the Diversity Training Institute of the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. Created the Women’s Resource Center and brought the first Women’s Awareness Week to campus and Co-founded When the Whistle Blows, Georgia Tech’s annual Campus Remembrance Ceremony.
Carol D. Smith: Born and raised in Miami, Fla., Smith attended Tuskegee Institute in Alabama receiving a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Physical Education. She received a Masters Degree in Education Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Florida Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame; Dade County Softball Hall of Fame; Florida Community College Activities Association Hall of Fame; Georgia Intersport Network for Women; currently serving on the National AAU Girls Basketball Executive Committee and is also a Women’s Basketball Officials’ Observer for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference. Carol coached for 31 years; retired June, 2000 from Miami-Dade County Public Schools and is currently living in Conyers, Georgia.
Janice Wittschiebe: Graduated in 1980 from Ga. Tech with a Master of Architecture Degree, and worked for Cooper Carry and Thompson Hancock & Witte (THW). During that time she had the privilege of teaching design studio at Tech before joining Carol Richard in partnership in 1991. In 2007 merged with Peter Hand & Associates to form Richard Wittschiebe Hand Architects, which now has a 22 person firm primarily focused on public work. She has been active with Ga. Tech serving as Chair of the President’s Advisory Board, Chair of the Alumni Association, member of the Ga. Tech Foundation Board, member of the Architecture Program Advisory Council and College of Architecture Dean’s Council as well as serving on the Advisory Council to the Vice Chancellor for Facilities of The Board of Regents and currently serving as a board member of AIA/Georgia and an alumni mentor to students.
~ In Memory ~
Janeen Jones McReynolds: Former Tech track standout Janeen (Jones) McReynolds continued to work at Georgia Tech after blazing up the Flats as an athlete. While competing for the Yellow Jackets, McReynolds was a four-time All-American in the 400-meter dash and 4x400m relay. She won five ACC titles, garnered eight all-conference honors during the course of her career and still is part of the record-setting 4x400m relay team from 1992. She was selected into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in 2005. After graduating from Tech in 1994 with a degree in mechanical engineering, McReynolds worked as an assistant coach for the women’s track and field team from 1995-97. In 1998 she decided to take a position as a research engineer in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Competing at the collegiate level, particularly for a school like Georgia Tech where the academics are so demanding, builds time management and problem solving skills. It fosters discipline, commitment and integrity. It creates relationships that last years beyond eligibility, and teaches one very important lesson – life is full of joy and disappointment; success depends on how you react to both.”
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