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Mills College Athletics Department Receives NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Award

Oakland, CA–April 9, 2010. The Mills College Athletics Department has received a Division III Student-Athlete Leadership Conference Recognition Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The NCAA award recognizes the Mills Athletics Department's comprehensive outreach effort that has positively impacted students, athletes, staff, and the local community in academic year 2009–10. Mills was selected for the honor following a review of action plan updates submitted by approximately 50 institutions attending the January 2009 Division III Student-Athlete Leadership Conference in Chicago, IL.

Neil Virtue, head swimming coach/physical education instructor, provided leadership for the initiative as the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) advisor. He collaborated with student-athletes Chelsea DeSouza, Kirie Lange, and Keshia Ramey who attended the Division III conference and were asked to develop steps to achieve their outreach goal, as well as methods for measuring their success.

Virtue said, "This NCAA award is wonderful! Mills student-athletes are making a huge impact on the community through exceptional leadership and a strong commitment to outreach. They do such important work; this couldn't have happened without them. Their efforts put Mills on the map nationally, as we walk the talk. Participating in athletics is not just about winning national championships; there's a vital service component to being a student-athlete at Mills." 

As part of the action plan to increase visibility of Mills' athletics programs, SAAC became an official club on campus and a new student-athlete senator position was established in the Associated Students of Mills College student government. In addition, student-athletes promoted events throughout campus, online, and in the neighboring Laurel District to attract more members of the community to games and events.

As part of the action plan, cross country team members invited Mills' Summer Academic Workshop first-generation college students to participate in a mini track and field meet for Oakland girls. In addition, swim team members participated in the Swim-A-Mile fundraiser for the Women's Cancer Resource Center, raising nearly $4,000.

Based on this outreach initiative, Mills student-athletes have reached approximately 200 Mills community members and 100 Bay Area participants to date.

The most consistent turnout to home soccer and volleyball games was achieved, as well as participation of 30 student volunteers for the two-day swimming invitational and 25 student volunteers for the home cross country invitational.

Next semester, the Athletics Department will continue to promote home events throughout campus and the neighborhood, arrange van transportation fans to off-campus sports events, and lead a workshop on health.

About Mills College

Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity to approximately 950 undergraduate women and 550 graduate women and men. Since 2000, applications to Mills College have more than doubled. The College is named one of the top colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and ranks as one of the Best 371 Colleges by The Princeton Review. Forbes.com ranked Mills 55th among America's best colleges and named it a "Top Ten: Best of the All-Women's Colleges." Visit us at www.mills.edu.

Quynh Tran
Media Relations Manager

Last Updated: 2/27/17