. N4A Announces the 2018 Lan Hewlett and Distinguished Service Awards Recipients :: NACDA :: Official Athletic Site
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N4A Announces the 2018 Lan Hewlett and Distinguished Service Awards Recipients

CLEVELAND -- The National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals (N4A) announced the recipients of its Lan Hewlett and Distinguished Service Awards. The winners will be recognized during the 2018 N4A Convention, held June 24-26 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The N4A Awards Luncheon will be Tuesday, June 26, at noon in rooms Maryland A-B, 1-6.

“It is with great pleasure that N4A acknowledges and honors the professional achievements of colleagues who are dedicated to higher education, college athletics and a positive student-athlete experience,” stated Felicia Martin, vice president of the eligibility center at the NCAA. "This year’s recipients are shining examples of industry leaders. Their devotion extends beyond their significant university impact to a broader influence within our profession. These distinguished recipients exemplify administrators who are invested in N4A and have served the organization in a variety of ways.”

Lan Hewlett Award
This award is named in honor of Mr. Lan Hewlett, a long-time advisor at the University of Texas, who is generally acknowledged as the first to provide academic support services to student-athletes. This award is presented annually to an advisor who has demonstrated the following:
  • Sustained professional service in academic advising for collegiate student-athletes
  • High level of competency in administrative skills
  • Merited stature among and support from student-athletes, faculty, coaches, and fellow administrators
  • Innovative response in meeting varied and emerging needs of student-athletes
  • An effectiveness in the development of junior staff (where appropriate)
  • Significant contributions to the field through publications or professional involvement/development
  • Leadership in university affairs
The 2018 Lan Hewlett Award recipient is Joan Hopkins, Associate Athletics Director/Student-Athlete Development, University of Massachusetts.

Joan Hopkins received her bachelor's in social studies and secondary education from Penn State and her master's in counselor education from Lehigh. After her collegiate career at Penn State University, she served as Lehigh and Northern Michigan University's women's swimming coach.

Hopkins began her administration career at Eastern Kentucky University where she spent 20 years as Coordinator of the Bratzke Student-Athlete Academic Success Center. The Center oversaw academic support programs for EKU's 350 student-athletes, resulting in a top-50 rating for the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR). The Center was also honored eight times as the top program in the Ohio Valley Conference and was the runner-up eight additional times.

Hopkins was hired as the Associate Athletics Director for Academic Services at the University of Massachusetts in August 2006. She oversees the academic services staff of seven which includes the academic progress of UMass’ 650-plus student-athletes. Hopkins served as Interim Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) from July 2014 through June 2015.

Throughout her career, Hopkins has been actively involved in N4A. She presented at the 2015 N4A National Convention in Orlando, Florida on “Pro-Active Advising for At-Risk Student-Athletes”.
She has previously served on the N4A Board of Directors and has been the chair of various N4A committees. In June 2011, she was the recipient of the N4A Distinguished Service Award, given to members who contribute above and beyond the normal service required by positions of leadership.

Distinguished Service Award
This prestigious award is presented annually to a N4A member who has demonstrated the following:
  • Continuous N4A membership for five years
  • Leadership in N4A at the regional or national level, a high quality of which is recognized by N4A peers
  • Contributions above and beyond the normal service required by positions of leadership
The 2018 Distinguished Service Award recipient is Ursula Gurney, Deputy Director of Athletics/SWA, University of Missouri Kansas City.

Ursula Gurney earned her B.A. degree in History from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2000. She then went on to earn her master's degree in History from SFU in 2002. Athletically, Gurney swam competitively at the national level in Canada participating in several National Championships, Olympic and Commonwealth Games Trials. Prior to her work in Kansas City, Gurney spent seven years at The Ohio State University.

Gurney was named the SWA in May of 2014 as well as being promoted to the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations. Prior to her appointment, she was the Senior Associate AD for Academics and Strategic Initiatives.

In her current role as Deputy AD, Gurney oversees the areas of academics, compliance, sports medicine, sports performance, and is the primary liaison with UMKC’s Offices of Admissions, Registration and Records and Residential Life. In addition, Gurney serves as a Deputy Title IX officer for the institution. She has oversight of ten of UMKC’s sixteen programs, serving as the sport administrator for women’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and track and field. She represents UMKC as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Administrative Council and serves as a member of the Director of Athletics Senior Staff.

As Senior Woman Administrator (SWA), Gurney provides administrative leadership in the management and governance of UMKC’s Intercollegiate Athletics program, and is heavily involved in key decision making at the institutional, conference, and national levels. She collaborates to address strategic initiatives and departmental goals, serves as a resource to all student-athletes and coaches, supports gender equity and Title IX issues, and evaluates performance of departmental employees.

Gurney is an active member of N4A and Women Leaders in College Sports. She has presented multiple times at N4A's national and regional conferences. She has served on N4A's Board of Directors since 2012, and is a current member of N4A's Strategic Planning Committee. In 2015, she was awarded N4A’s Lan Hewlett Award, an honor presented to those who demonstrate an unyielding commitment to the profession. She currently serves on the NCAA Committee on Academics, and the WAC’s Academic and Governance Committee. Between 2011 and 2013 she was a member of the NCAA Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet. She is a graduate of Women Leaders 2012 Leadership Enhancement Institute (LEI), the 2010 West Institute for Administrative Advancement (IAA), and a 2009 graduate of the N4A's Professional Development Institute (PDI) Leader/Manager Track.

About N4A: N4A, which has been in existence since 1975, is a diverse educational service and professional non-profit organization. Membership of N4A includes academic support and student services personnel who are committed to enhancing opportunities for academic, athletics and personal success for student-athletes. For more information on N4A, visit www.nfoura.org. N4A is administered by NACDA, now in its 53rd year, administers 17 professional associations, including seven for the separate business units that report directly to the athletics directors. For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com.