FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas student-athletes Ben Skidmore, Courtney O’Grady, Matt Walters and Kelli Stipanovich have been nominated for a pair of Southeastern Conference post-graduate scholarships. A male and female student-athlete from the SEC are awarded both scholarships annually.
For their accomplishments in the classroom, Skidmore and O’Grady have been nominated for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship. The H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship has been presented by the Southeastern Conference since 1986 to the league’s top male and female scholar-athletes. Skidmore and O’Grady compete on the men’s track and field and women’s swimming team, respectively.
In recognition of their commitment to service in Northwest Arkansas, Walters and Stipanovich have been nominated for the Brad Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship. The SEC Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship was named for former Associate Commissioner Brad Davis. Davis succumbed to cancer on March 2, 2006. He had been a member of the SEC staff since 1988, first serving as an assistant commissioner until 1994 when he was promoted to associate commissioner. Walters is on the Razorback men’s tennis team while Stipanovich competes for the University of Arkansas in volleyball.
“Congratulations to our student-athletes for being selected as nominees for some of the Southeastern Conference’s most prestigious awards,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “We are proud of the work our student-athletes are doing in the classroom on the path to graduation. For Ben and Courtney to be selected from the more than 233 Razorback student-athletes who achieved a 3.0 GPA, last semester is truly a special accomplishment. Matt and Kelli have also established themselves as leaders on their respective teams and in the community. Thanks to their efforts and the voluntary efforts of their fellow Razorback student-athletes, approximately 100 organizations have benefitted from more than 3,500 hours of community service.”
The Southeastern Conference will name the 2012 recipients of the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship on April 6 in conjunction with National Student-Athlete Day. The Davis Community Service Post-Graduate Scholarship winners will be announced on April 5.
Skidmore is a member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and the Athletic Department Honor Roll. He also earned selection to the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Association All-Academic Team. Skidmore will earn his B.A. degree in Chemistry and Biology in May 2012. He is a four-year member of the Arkansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and has been a participant in the Razorback Leadership Academy for three years. During his Razorback career, Skidmore has participated in the SEC’s Together We CAN Food Drive, the Wheel Chair Relay Race (during Disability Awareness Week), Run for Love 5K (support youth orphanage home) and the Book Hogs Read to Win Program. He has also participated in “Sweat Hawgs,” a program promoting physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle to children. On the track, Skidmore is a six-time All-America selection and was an SEC champion and All-SEC selection with the 4x400 relay in 2011. Most recently, he was part of 4x400 relay that won the program’s first-ever national title at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships. The Woodlands, Texas native is the son of Steven Skidmore.
A captain of the women’s swimming and diving team and member of the University of Arkansas’ Honors College, O’Grady will earn her degree in Business in December 2012 with a double major of Finance and Marketing. A four-time member of SEC Academic Honor Roll and Arkansas Athletic Department Honor Roll, O’Grady is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma (business), Golden Key, Eta Sigma Phi and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Societies. She is a member of the Razorback Leadership Academy and is an Executive Cabinet member with the UA Associated Student Government. She has volunteered for various organizations including Special Olympics and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Within the Razorback student-athlete development program, O’Grady has participated in in Lift Up America (food drive), Sweat Hawgs (promoting physical fitness and healthy lifestyle to children), Shop with the Razorbacks (purchase gifts for needy children during Christmas) and the Book Hogs Read to Win Program (reading to children at elementary schools). The Longwood, Fla., native is the daughter of Patrick and Lynn O’Grady.
Walters is a two-time captain of the Razorback men’s tennis team and is a member of the SEC and Arkansas Athletic Department Honor Roll. He will earn a B.S. degree in Education in May 2012. Walters has volunteered at two homeless shelters, providing general maintenance and administrative assistance. He has also made visits to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. As a member of the Razorback tennis team, he has helped conduct tennis camps for young children for the past four years. In addition, he has participated in the SEC Together We CAN Food Drive and the Lift Up America food drive. Walters is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, speaking to high school students and youth teams. He has also participated in the in Books Hogs Read to Win Program (reading to children at elementary schools) and Sweat Hawgs (promoting physical fitness and healthy lifestyle to children). The Jonesboro, Ark., native is the son of Tim and Linda Walters.
Stipanovich is a three-time captain of the Razorback volleyball team and a member of the Razorback Leadership Academy. She is an active member of Arkansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, including serving as its secretary in 2011-12. On the court, Stipanonvich earned All-SEC team honors in 2011 and was the most valuable player at the 2010 Arkansas Invitational, 2011 Wake Forest Invitational and 2011 West Point Challenge. Stipanovich will earn a B.S. degree in Education in May 2012. She is a member of both the Arkansas Athletic Department and SEC Academic Honor Rolls. She is a three-time selection to the SEC Community Service Volleyball Team. In addition, she has participated in in the American Heart Association Heart Walk, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Special Olympics Track Meet, Boys and Girls Club Volleyball Clinic and the SEC Together We CAN Food Drive. Stipanovich has also volunteered with Razorback Relief: Operation Haiti (packaging meals for victims of Haiti earthquake), Books Hogs Read to Win Program (reading to children at elementary schools), Sweat Hawgs (promoting physical fitness and healthy lifestyle to children) and the Lift Up America food drive. The Creve Coeur, Mo., native is the daughter of Steve and Terri Stipanovich.
Each year, the SEC, in conjunction with AT&T, an SEC Corporate Champion sponsor, provides the league’s male and female McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Post-Graduate Scholarship recipients with a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $7,500 post-graduate scholarship. The Davis Award recipients each receive a $10,000 post-graduate scholarship, provided by the SEC. The 22 remaining male and female finalists for the award will also receive a $5,000 post-graduate scholarship.
The award recipients are chosen by a committee of Faculty Athletics Representatives from the 12 SEC institutions and are honored at the SEC Spring Meetings in Sandestin, Fla. on May 31.