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Three Yellow Jackets Earn ACC Post-Graduate Scholarship Awards

March 1, 2010

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GREENSBORO, N.C.– Three Georgia Tech student-athletes – Alana Clooten (track and field), Ryann Kopacka (swimming) and Amanda McDowell (tennis) – are among the 36 who will receive ACC Post-Graduate Scholarships, league commissioner John Swofford announced today.

The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes–three from each league institution–who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $5,000 to contribute to their graduate education. Each recipient has performed with distinction in both the classroom and his/her respective sports, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.

Clooten, who broke the Georgia Tech record in the hammer throw as a freshman, is a two-time ACC All-Academic team selection as well as a second team CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine All-District III performer. The industrial engineering major in on Georgia Tech’s Student-Athlete Advisory Board as well as the ACC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Kopacka, who holds the Georgia Tech record in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and helped the 400 medley relay team to a school record, is an industrial engineering major. Kopacka is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and National Society of Professional Engineers, and volunteers with the Relay for Life organization and tutors other Georgia Tech student-athletes.

McDowell, who ranks among Georgia Tech’s most successful tennis players with more than 100 career victories, was the 2008 NCAA singles champion. Her 45 singles wins in 2008 were a school single-season record. An international affairs major, McDowell was a 2007 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlere, a 2009 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III selection, and a three-time member of the ACC All-Academic Women’s Tennis Team.

In addition to those receiving scholarship funds, four student-athletes will receive the Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award. Three golfers–Clemson’s Benjamin Martin, Virginia’s Whitney Neuhauser, and Wake Forest’s Brendan Gielow–and Duke lacrosse standout Max Quinzani will be recognized for their outstanding academic and athletic performance and intend to compete at the professional level.

The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, all of whom are former ACC commissioners. The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletes 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 athletes 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 of 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 post-graduate 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 awarded 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 post-graduate studies at an ACC institution.

The 40 student-athletes will be honored on April 14th, 2010 at the ¬¬¬¬¬Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C. at a luncheon hosted by the Nat Greene Kiwanis Club.


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