Stockton Selected to Verizon Academic Hall Of Fame

May 29, 2002

STAMFORD, Conn. - Five outstanding former college student-athletes who have attained prominence in a variety of professions, including Gonzaga University and Utah Jazz basketball standout John Stockton, will be inducted into the Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame? at ceremonies in New York City at the Hilton New York on June 27.

Stockton graduated from Gonzaga in 1984 and has gone on to an 18-year career with the NBA's Jazz while becoming the league's career leader in steals and assists.

Joining Stockton in New York will be:

Dr. Richard Balzhiser (University of Michigan, class of 1955), a standout football player who worked for two U.S. presidents and became one of the nation's leading environmental engineers;

Susan Cassidy (Molloy College, class of 1986), a three-year starter in softball who is currently a captain in the New York City Police Department, the youngest person ever named to that position;

Susan Walsh (University of North Carolina, class of 1984), an 8-time NCAA swimming champion currently overseeing fundraising efforts for UNC's Educational Foundation.

To be eligible, a candidate had to be an Academic All-America team member who graduated at least 10 years ago. The 2002 inductees were selected from a group of 150 individuals who were nominated by members of CoSIDA. There are now 73 members of the Hall of Fame, including this year's class.

In addition, Governor Raymond Shafer will be named an honorary member into the Hall of Fame. Shafer (Allegheny College, class of 1938) was a 9-time letterman in three sports who went on to become governor of Pennsylvania. Honorary inductees are eligible candidates who competed prior to the establishment of the Academic All-America program in their respective sport.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Verizon Academic All-America program, which was founded by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in 1952 to recognize collegiate student-athletes for their outstanding achievements in the classroom and on the playing field. Over the past 50 years, the Verizon Academic All-America program has grown into one of the most recognized and prestigious collegiate scholar-athlete awards nationwide, honoring student-athletes from all NCAA championship sports. Several members of the inaugural Academic All-America football team from 1952 will be attending and will be honored during the ceremony.

CBS sportscaster and Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame member Dick Enberg will be the host for the 15th annual event. The theme of the program is "Great Expectations: A Journey of Excellence."

"All of this year's inductees are tremendous role models," said Enberg. "The class of 2002 will help elevate the level of excellence established by the previous group of former student-athletes who make the Hall of Fame induction such a prestigious honor."

"This group of former student-athletes perfectly represents the types of individuals the founders had in mind when the Hall of Fame was created. The members of CoSIDA are proud to play a part in this tremendous program," said Pete Moore, president of CoSIDA.

Under an agreement with CoSIDA, GTE, now Verizon, has been the exclusive sponsor of the Academic All-America program since 1985. Verizon, America's literacy champion, strongly believes that literacy is a key ingredient to success and outstanding achievements in life. The Academic All-America program is part of Verizon Reads, the company's national campaign to promote literacy through corporate philanthropy, partner collaboration, community outreach, and customer and employee participation.

"Literacy is a fundamental skill," said Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. "By virtue of their achievements after college, as well as in athletics, during college, the 2002 inductees into the Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame are an inspiration to us all that literacy leading to academic achievement is essential for a well-rounded, successful and fulfilling life."

JOHN STOCKTON (Gonzaga University, Basketball, Class of 1984) - Stockton graduated from Gonzaga in 1984 with a 3.30 GPA in business administration. In his senior year of 1984 he was voted the West Coast Conference male scholar athlete of the year and finished his college career as Gonzaga's all-time leader in assists with 554, a record broken in 2000 by Matt Santangelo.

The 16th pick overall in the 1984 NBA draft, Stockton has played his entire pro career with the Utah Jazz, where he has established himself as one of the premier players in NBA history. The consummate point guard, he is the NBA's all-time leader in assists with 15,177, leading the league for a record nine straight seasons, including a single-season record of 1,164 in 1990-91. He is also the league's all-time leader in steals with 3,128.

A model of durability and consistency, Stockton played in every game in 16 of his 18 seasons in the league, during which time the Jazz never missed the playoffs, appearing in the NBA finals in 1997 and 1998. He also holds the NBA record for most games with one franchise and ranks third all-time in league history in games played and was a member of the NBA "Dream Team" that won Olympic gold medals in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996.

A two-time All-NBA first team selection and a 10-time NBA All-Star, Stockton and Jazz teammate Karl Malone have formed one of the most prolific duos ever in the NBA. In 1996 he was voted one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History," and his place in Springfield, Mass., at the Basketball Hall of Fame is secure.

Stockton spends many hours off the court doing charity and community service work. In Salt Lake City, he has volunteered his time for the Primary Children's Medical Center, Children's Miracle Network and the Utah Chapters of the National Society to Prevent Blindness, among others. He is also involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the NBA's "Stay in School" program.

DR. RICHARD BALZHISER (University of Michigan, Football, Class of 1955) - One of the nation's leading energy and engineering experts, Balzhiser is a 1955 graduate of the University of Michigan. The native of Wheaton, Ill., was a member of the inaugural Academic All-America football team of 1952 and graduated at the top of his class as an engineering major. He holds BS, MS and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan.

For two seasons, Balzhiser was a key member of the Wolverines' single-wing offense as a "spinning fullback" - the equivalent of today's option quarterback - for legendary coach Benny Oosterbaan. In 1954 he was awarded the Big 10 Conference Medal of Honor, recognizing excellence in scholarship, athletics and community service.

Fulfilling a desire to give back to the university, Balzhiser served as professor of chemical engineering at Michigan from 1960-70. Beginning in 1967 he spent a year as a White House Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He participated in a number of important assignments, including a comprehensive study of the nation's commitment to the Vietnam War. He then went back to Ann Arbor and became the chairman of Michigan's Chemical Engineering Department.

Balzhiser returned to the White House in 1971, where he spent two years under President Nixon in the Office of Science and Technology (OST), with responsibility for energy, environment, and natural resources. He was attracted to Palo Alto, Calif., by the electric utility industry's creation of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) under Chauncey Starr's leadership. Balzhiser directed the Fossil Fuel and Advanced Systems Division initially. His responsibilities broadened as VP under Floyd Culler and then as president and CEO for the last eight years prior to his retirement in 1996.

He remained active in industry matters serving on several boards and advisory councils for Reliant Energy, Aerospace, Electrosource, NREL, WEC, DOE, World Bank, Mobil Oil, California's PIER committee, and the California Council for Science and Technology. He resides in Menlo Park, Calif.

SUSAN CASSIDY (Molloy College, Softball, Class of 1986) - A two-time Academic All-America, Cassidy graduated Molloy College in 1986 after only three years with a 3.87 GPA as a business management major. She was a three-year starter at shortstop and finished her sophomore season with a .462 batting average, 11th best in the nation for Division III. She also lettered in basketball, was the sports editor of the school newspaper and interned in the sports information office. She went to graduate school at John Jay College, where she received a Master's Degree in criminal justice in 1990.

Upon graduation from Molloy, Cassidy joined the New York City Police Department in July 1986. She was promoted to sergeant in 1989, becoming one of the youngest officers ever promoted to sergeant, and became a lieutenant in 1997. In November 2001 she was promoted to captain and is currently assigned to the 1st Deputy Commissioner's office, where she is a liaison to the mayor's office and to the police commissioner.

While working at Police Headquarters on September 11, Cassidy heard the impact of the first airplane attack on the World Trade Center and immediately responded to the scene. Within minutes of arrival she witnessed the second attack and was forced to initially flee falling debris from the crash and subsequent explosion. She immediately joined with her immediate supervisor, former First Deputy Commissioner Joseph P. Dunne, to assist in organizing command posts for the New York Police Department and in the ensuing days assisted in the coordination of efforts among the Police Department, Fire Department, Sanitation Department, Red Cross, Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, FBI and all other agencies involved in the rescue and evacuation. Her efforts have earned her praise and admiration from citizens in New York City and across the country.

For the last five years, Cassidy has been the head women's volleyball coach at CW Post. She is also in her 12th year as head softball coach at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School. She resides in Hicksville, N.Y.

SUSAN WALSH (University of North Carolina, Swimming, Class of 1984) - A native of Hamburg, N.Y., Walsh graduated Phi Beta Kappa from North Carolina in 1984 with a 3.80 GPA in business administration. The two-time Academic All-America is one of the elite swimmers in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

During her four years in Chapel Hill, Walsh won eight NCAA individual titles, was named ACC swimmer of the year three times and led the Tar Heels to four straight conference championships and an overall dual meet record of 36-2. In 1984 she won the Patterson Medal, given annually to UNC's outstanding senior athlete.

After spending five years as an auditor for accounting firm Ernst & Whinney, Walsh, a CPA, returned to Chapel Hill and her college roots in 1989. She has spent the past 13 years working for the UNC Educational Foundation first as director of operations and now as vice president for endowment, where she oversees fundraising efforts in 10 different chapters within the state of North Carolina and coordinates the staff's efforts to secure additional endowed scholarships as well as put in place a variety of deferred gifts such as charitable trusts. She also spent time as a guest lecturer at the UNC business school and worked for four years as a volunteer assistant coach with the men's and women's swimming teams.

Walsh spends many hours in the community, including doing extensive volunteer work for the St. Thomas More School, where she also takes on a fundraising role in addition to assisting with recess supervision, field trips and lunch preparations. She can be found on the pool deck teaching the youngest Tar Hells how to swim and has also helped coach her son's little league baseball team. She has also worked for the North Carolina Special Olympics and the North Carolina Governor's Council on Physical Fitness.

Walsh resides in Durham, N.C. with her three children.

HONORARY INDUCTEE - GOVERNOR RAYMOND SHAFER (Allegheny College, Basketball/Soccer/Track & Field, Class of 1938) - A 1938 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Allegheny College, Shafer was a history and political science major and a Rhodes Scholar candidate. In a sign of things to come, he was elected class president for four straight years and student body president as a senior.

A sensational all-around athlete, Shafer earned nine varsity letters during his college career - four each in basketball and soccer and one in track & field. He was the team's leading scorer in basketball for three seasons, an all-America halfback in soccer and a standout high jumper and pole-vaulter. Following college he attended law school at Yale, where his classmates included future President Gerald Ford and future Supreme Court Justice Byron White, a Verizon Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductee.

Shafer graduated Yale in 1941 before serving a four-year stint in the Navy during World War II. He served in Naval Intelligence and as a P.T. boat skipper in the South Pacific, where he performed more than 80 combat missions and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

After the war, Shafer returned to Meadville, Pa., to practice law and was elected Crawford County District Attorney for two terms, from 1948-1956. He then served as state senator in Pennsylvania from 1959-1963 and lieutenant governor from 1963-1966 before being elected governor in 1966.

As governor, Shafer modernized the state's constitution, reorganized its judicial system and established progressive and successful programs for economic development, environmental protection and education. During his tenure Pennsylvania enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate, highest per capita income and largest influx of new business than for any comparable period in the history of the commonwealth.

Born in New Castle, Pa., Shafer resides in Meadville, where he is retired but still is associated with law firms in Washington, D.C. and in Meadville. He also continues to serve on the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, a position he has held since his governorship.

 

 

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