Theresa Smart becomes record three-time UD Scholar Athlete of the Year, honored at Dallas Softball awards banquet
IRVING, Texas - With members of the University of Dallas Athletic Department and astute UD faculty on hand, a banquet was held at the Maher Athletic Center on Friday, May 6, celebrating members of the 2010-2011 Dallas softball team, and to especially honor Theresa Smart, a senior who was introduced as the first three-time recipient of the UD Scholar Athlete of the Year award.
The festivities began with Athletic Director Dick Strockbine recognizing individuals on the softball team with a commemorative plaque -- reading either "For Those Who Dare" or "Those Who Stay Will Be Champions."
Meredith Noe (Sugar Land, Texas/St. Agnes Academy), Maggie Boylan (San Marcos, Texas/San Marcos Baptist Academy), Laura Yokell (Fort Worth, Texas/Home School), Theresa Smart (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S.) and Meghan Frost (Bandera, Texas/Northshore H.S.) were presented with the "For Those Who Dare" award -- inspired by Theodore Roosevelt -- as a token of appreciation for joining a softball team marred by very limited depth in numbers.
Meanwhile, freshman Mallori Westbrook (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron H.S.), and mainstays Jessica Mollner (St. Paul, Minn./Convent of the Visitation School), Cheryl Hinze (Houston, Texas/Langham Creek H.S.), Brittany Castro (Houston, Texas/Langham Creek H.S.) and Christina Jeffrey (Tomball, Texas/Concordia Lutheran) were each granted a "Those Who Stay Will Be Champions" plaque. The title of the award is derived from former University of Michigan football head coach Bo Schembechler's famous quote, "What the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve and those who stay will be champions." In the context of Dallas Softball, this award is a testament to the aforementioned everyday players who toughed it out through the thick-and-thin of the 2010-2011 season.
Theresa Smart: First three-time UD Scholar Athlete of the Year:
Then, it was on to the main event of the afternoon's ceremony, as Dr. Thomas Jodziewicz -- a UD Professor of History -- took over at the podium. After speaking kind words of Theresa, who maintained a 4.0 GPA in her undergraduate career as a Politics/Spanish double major, he proceeded to present her with the UD Scholar Athlete of the Year award.
A gracious Theresa reflected upon winning the award for a record third time despite having to overcome an injury early in her senior campaign.
“It is such an honor to receive the University of Dallas Scholar Athlete of the Year award three times in a row," Theresa said. "Initially I didn’t think I would be able to, because of a severe ankle injury and surgery prevented me from running cross country last fall. But then, after hearing the softball team was so short on players in January, I joined in and managed to complete the season.”
Theresa next shared that others should take her example as proof it's possible to succeed as a student-athlete at the University of Dallas, and how rewarding it can be to be part of a team.
“I think what I’m most proud of is the mere fact that I participated in varsity sports all four years here at UD," Theresa said. "This award is proof that it’s possible to do that and still succeed academically.”
“I wish more students would participate in athletics here at UD, because I’ve found it is a wonderful way to stay active, make great friends, and be a part of something bigger than oneself. There’s something so special about being a part of a team that works hard together -- to the point of physical exhaustion -- and then gets to see that work pay off in competition.”
Beyond athletics, Theresa's hard work in the classrooms at UD has paid dividends -- last year, she was admitted into the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Additionally, at Senior Convoctation, Theresa was awarded the Willmoore Kendall award in Political Philosophy from the Politics Department, while also receiving the Spanish Department's award.
She will walk the graduation stage on May 15, and has plans of working toward a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame in fall 2011. Theresa, we appreciate your dedication and commitment as a student athlete in your tenure at the University of Dallas, and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.
About the UD Scholar Athlete of the Year award:
The UD Scholar Athlete of the Year award was first implemented in 1984 and given to Greg Roper -- a current UD Associate Professor of English. The award is handed annually to the letter-winning varsity athlete with the highest GPA; freshmen are not eligible.