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Kansas City, Mo.—In recognition of outstanding achievement and dedication to the advancement of women’s athletics, the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) today announced the 2016 recipients of the organization’s most distinguished awards: the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Legacy Award and the Dr. Claire Van Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award.

    Lifetime Achievement Award
    Joan Cronan, Director of Women’s Athletics at the University of Tennessee Emeritus
    Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, Senior Partner, The PICTOR Group

    Legacy Award
    Alfreeda Goff, Former Senior Associate Commissioner at the Horizon League

    Dr. Claire Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award
    Dr. Judy Genshaft, President and CEO/Corporate Secretary at the University of South Florida System

The honorees will be celebrated October 10 at the NIKE Lifetime Achievement and Presidential Leadership Awards Luncheon in conjunction with the 2016 NACWAA National Convention in Kansas City, MO.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed annually to administrators who have dedicated their professional careers to advancing women in sport, rendered meritorious service and retired from or are no longer directly involved in the profession. Honorees are nominated by their peers and selected by past NACWAA Lifetime Achievement winners.

Presented to a NACWAA member who has made significant contributions on a national level for the betterment of intercollegiate athletics, the Legacy Award honoree has demonstrated dedication to diversity and gender equity, the NACWAA Foundation, and educational and professional development programs. Legacy Award candidates are nominated and selected by the NACWAA Board of Directors.

Claire Van Ummersen (CVU) Presidential Leadership Award honors a university or college president/chancellor, vice president or provost who has demonstrated leadership and promotion of women's opportunities in athletics administration or coaching. Dr. Claire Van Ummersen was the former President of Cleveland State University and the University System of New Hampshire and Vice President of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Center for Effective Leadership.  CVU Award candidates are nominated by NACWAA members and selected by the NACWAA Awards Committee.

“To be surrounded but such inspiring, impactful leaders in our industry is a true honor and we couldn’t be more excited to honor these individuals,” said Patti Phillips, NACWAA Chief Executive Officer. “Each champions in their own right, these women have made invaluable contributions in the world of collegiate athletics. We cannot wait to come together and celebrate these women in Kansas City and express our gratitude for the great strides they have taken on behalf of all women in athletics.” 

About the Honorees

Joan Cronan led one of the most successful women’s athletic departments in the country for 28 years. As the Director of Women’s Athletics at the University of Tennessee, Cronan’s teams won 10 NCAA titles and 24 SEC Tournament Championships, 57 SEC titles. She served on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council and is a former National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) President. Her passion for intercollegiate athletics started as a basketball and tennis coach before later transitioning into administration. She has received several awards throughout her career, including the 2005 NACWAA Athletic Director of the Year and in 2008, she was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Cronan garnered a reputation as a motivational leader who not only led her department to national acclaim but who also was heavily involved in her Knoxville community. She recently published her book, Sport Is Life with the Volume Turned Up and serves as a speaker and consultant.

With a career spanning almost 30 years, Dr. M. Dianne Murphy is a former women’s basketball coach turned athletic administrator. Dr. Murphy last served as the Director of Athletics at Columbia University, leading the Lions to one of the most successful periods in Columbia Athletics history. The Lions captured 30 Ivy League titles in 12 different sports and one NCAA championship during Dr. Murphy’s tenure. She remained connected to her basketball roots by serving on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and the State Farm Wade Trophy Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Committee. She also developed an elite leadership-training program for college women’s basketball coaches, The Center for Coaching Excellence. She has been recognized an extraordinary athletic administrator by National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA), Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA), and the All-American Football Foundation. Her entire career has focused on developing the student-athletes, coaches and administrators to excel in their given roles.

After a 40-year career in intercollegiate athletics, Alfreeda Goff recently retired as the Senior Associate Commissioner of the Horizon League. One of the most highly respected women in intercollegiate athletics, Goff served the Horizon League as its Director of Championships, Senior Woman Administrator and was the league governance liaison. Her career has included time at the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia State University. As the Athletic Director at Virginia State University she led the athletics program to historical growth and success and was awarded NACWAA’s Administrator of Year Award in 1999. She has sat on numerous NCAA committees and served as NACWAA’s president from 2004-2005. She was also a founding member of the Minority Opportunities Athletics Association (MOAA) and helped create what is now NACWAA’s Women’s Leadership Symposium (WLS). Goff is currently a consultant for Spelman Johnson Consulting Firm in the Division of Athletics.

Dr. Judy Genshaft is the President and CEO of the University of South Florida System and has been recognized by professional organizations and community groups as one of the top leaders in higher education. Dr. Genshaft made NCAA history by being the first woman to chair the Division I Board. She has also been the chair of the Big East and American Athletic Conference Councils of Presidents. She has taken USF to new heights as the  university is one of the top 25 public research universities in the nation. She is active in the Tampa Bay region and has been instrumental in the city’s economic development. She was inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame and awarded the 2007 Business Woman of the Year Award by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Dr. Genshaft’s leadership successes has inspired many women to pursue positions at the top levels of higher education. 

View past award winners at https://www.nacwaa.org/join-nacwaa/awards.

About the NACWAA National Convention (#NACWAA15)

Celebrating its 37th year, the NACWAA National Rallyis the premier leadership summit for women working in intercollegiate athletics and beyond. Attended by professionals from all divisions of intercollegiate athletics as well as sports-minded corporate leaders, this annual gathering provides three days of unparalleled education, leadership training and networking. The 2016 event will be held October 9-11 at the Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City, MO.

About the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators

NACWAA is the premier leadership organization that empowers, develops, assists, celebrates, affirms, involves and honors women working in all fields of intercollegiate athletics. NACWAA takes a pro-active role in advancing women into positions of influence and powerfully shapes the landscape of women leaders. Learn more at www.nacwaa.org.

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