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Four Blue Devils Receive ACC Postgraduate Scholarships
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/18/2011
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Sarah Bullard, Dorian Cohen, Reka Zsilinszka and Jasmine Thomas Were Honored
Photo Courtesy: Duke Photography
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DURHAM, N.C. - Four Blue Devils were recipients of postgraduate scholarships given by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), as announced by Commissioner John D. Swofford on Friday.

Duke’s Sarah Bullard (lacrosse), Dorian Cohen (fencing) and Reka Zsilinszka (tennis) were named recipients of the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award while Jasmine Thomas (basketball) was a recipient of the Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award.

The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes – three from each league institution – who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements. Each recipient will receive $5,000 to contribute to their graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and his/her respective sports, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.

In addition to those receiving scholarship funds, five student-athletes will receive the Weaver-James-Corrigan Honorary Award. These five will be recognized for their outstanding academic and athletic performance and intend to compete at the professional level.

The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, all of whom are former ACC commissioners. The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletics at Wake Forest University. His early leadership and uncompromising integrity are largely responsible for the excellent reputation enjoyed by the ACC today.

Robert C. James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.

Eugene F. Corrigan assumed his role as the third full-time commissioner of September 1, 1987, and served until August of 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure, ACC schools captured 30 NCAA championships and two national football titles.

Prior to 1994, the Weaver-James postgraduate scholarships were given as separate honors. The Jim Weaver Award, which originated in 1970, recognized exceptional achievement on the playing field and in the classroom, while the Bob James Award, established in 1987, also honored outstanding student-athletes.

The Thacker Award, which originated in 2005, is awarded in honor of the late Jim and Pat Thacker of Charlotte, N.C. Jim Thacker was the primary play-by-play announcer for the ACC’s first television network. Recipients of the award must demonstrate outstanding performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through postgraduate studies at an ACC institution.

The 41 student-athletes will be honored on April 13, 2011 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C., at a luncheon hosted by the Nat Greene Kiwanis Club.

Biographical Sketches of Award Winners

Sarah Bullard; Duke; Sociology; Women’s Lacrosse; Needham, Mass.

Sarah Bullard has been a four-year starter for the Blue Devil women’s lacrosse squad and earned a spot on the US National Team that won gold at the 2009 World Cup. A two-time All-America and Tewaaraton Trophy nominee, the Needham, Mass., native led Duke in goals a season ago in addition to garnering her second-career All-ACC and All-South Region accolades. A Sociology major, she is also pursuing a certificate in Markets and Management Studies and has been named to the All-ACC Academic Team and ACC Honor the past three years while earning ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District honors as well.

Dorian Cohen; Duke; Evolutionary Anthropology; Fencing; Brooklyn N.Y.
Dorian Cohen is a two-time All-America fencer who has qualified for the NCAA Fencing Tournament every year at Duke. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Cohen owns a career 178-49 record and has won over 78 percent of his bouts. Cohen is one of only nine fencers in Duke history to qualify for the NCAAs three times and, with a 55-5 record in 2011, is on pace to become the fourth to make it to nationals during all four years. Also an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III selection as a junior, Cohen majors in Evolutionary Anthropology.

Reka Zsilinszka; Duke; History; Women’s Tennis; Fayetteville, N.C.
Reka Zsilinszka currently ranks fourth all-time in Duke history with 126 singles wins and is second all-time in winning percentage at 0.808. A three-time All-ACC selection, Zsilinszka earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament as an individual in each of the past three seasons. She garnered All-America recognition in 2008 and 2009. She sports two of the top 10 single season performances in Duke history and was instrumental in Duke’s run to the 2009 NCAA Championship. In the classroom she is equally successful, being named to the All-ACC Academic Team all three seasons and picking up CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District recognition in 2009.

Jasmine Thomas; Duke; Sociology; Women’s Basketball; Fairfax, Va.
One of the top scorers in Duke women’s basketball history, Jasmine Thomas ranks eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,530 points.  She became only the fourth Blue Devil in school history to notch over 1,300 points, 400 rebounds, 400 assists and 50 blocked shots.  A Naismith, John R. Wooden Award and State Farm Wade Trophy candidate for National Player of the Year, guided Duke to its sixth ACC Championship in school history in 2010 where she was named ACC Tournament MVP.  A three-time ACC Honor Roll selection and two-time Capital One Academic All-District honoree, Thomas was a 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America.  She was named to the Dean’s List in the Fall of 2008 and was the Kay Yow recipient in 2010 as the ACC Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  Thomas is a 2011 finalist for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award and a two-time ACC All-Academic team selection.

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