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N4A Announces 2014 Award Winners

June 16, 2014

CLEVELAND – The National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) announced the recipients of its Lan Hewlett, Distinguished Service, Model Practices, Research, Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement and Professional Promise Awards. The winners were recognized at the 2014 N4A Convention, held June 5-8 at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, FL.

“On behalf of N4A, I would like to congratulate all of this year’s award winners,” stated N4A President Jim Pignataro, associate athletics director for student services at Michigan State. “We are continually looking for ways to recognize outstanding leadership and achievement in our industry and these individuals exemplify what their respective award is about.”

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:

  1. Sustained professional service in academic advising for collegiate student-athletes
  2. High level of competency in administrative skills
  3. Merited stature among and support from student-athletes, faculty, coaches, and fellow administrators
  4. Innovative response in meeting varied and emerging needs of student-athletes
  5. An effectiveness in the development of junior staff (where appropriate)
  6. Significant contributions to the field through publications or professional involvement/development
  7. Leadership in university affairs

Winner:  Curtis Jones, former Associate Athletics Director for Academic Support, West Virginia University, being honored posthumously. More information on Jones: http://www.wvusports.com/page.cfm?story=23995

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



Winner:  Carla Winters, Assistant Director of Athletics Academics and Student Life, University of Oklahoma Full bio: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/nacda/sports/nfoura/auto_pdf/2012-13/misc_non_event/Winters.pdf  

Model Practices Award

The N4A Model Practices Award is an award given annually to the university or college that displays best practices in their academic programming for student athletes (this includes, but is not limited to academic advising, academic integrity, disability services, target populations, learning specialists, tutoring, study hall/table, student-athlete affairs / life skills).

Winner:  Xavier University

Research Award

This award is given to a graduate student working on a dissertation/thesis or a practitioner completing a research project to put towards future research with the hopes of sharing with the organization.

Winner:  Jes Leonard, West Virginia University

Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award

The N4A Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award is intended to honor student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics. These young men and women may not be the best athletes or students, and therefore may not have been recognized by other organizations or awards. Nonetheless, they have persevered and made significant personal strides toward success.

Winners:  Catherine Leibbrandt, University of South Florida
Christopher Quiroga, Purdue University
Ashley Reid, Colorado State University
Cedric Thompson, University of Minnesota
Devon Walker, Tulane University

Professional Promise Award

Given yearly to one member from each region, the N4A Professional Promise Award honors "new" professionals who serve student-athletes and who have dedicated their energy to the Association and its mission. Winners must have been N4A members for more than one year but fewer than five years.

Winners: Jon Kindred, University of Maryland Baltimore County (Region I)
Genese Lavalais, Jackson State University (Region II)
Kelly Traynor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (Region III)
Amelia Howard, UMKC (Region IV)
Liberty Bracken, University of Washington (Region V)