Kenyon graduate wins top student-athlete awardGAMBIER, Ohio (July 21, 2003)
Ashley Rowatt, who graduated from Kenyon this spring after a stellar career as a biology student as well as a varsity swimmer, has received one the nation's most prestigious awards for student-athletes.
Rowatt was named one of the two winners of the 2002-03 Academic All-America of the Year award, given to the most outstanding student-athletes of the year by Verizon and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Rowatt is the first Kenyon athlete and the first swimmer ever to win the honor.
Verizon and CoSIDA named Rowatt the nation's top student-athlete in the college division, embracing Divisions II and III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The award in the university division (for Division I institutions) went to Theresa Kulikowsi, a gymnast at the University of Utah. Announced on July 17, the awards were also featured in USA Today, which ran photos of the winners.
Rowatt, who is from Louisville, Kentucky, majored in molecular biology at Kenyon, graduating summa cum laude, with highest honors and a 3.96 grade-point average. She plans to attend Vanderbilt University Medical School in the fall.
As a Kenyon swimmer for the past four seasons, Rowatt won three individual national titles, two national relay titles, and thirteen All-America awards. She was a four-year qualifier for the NCAA swimming and diving championship and led Kenyon to three national championships and four North Coast Athletic Conference championships. Additionally, Rowatt was the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was recently nominated for the NCAA Woman of Year award.
"I'm extremely honored to receive this award from Verizon and I am grateful to my professors, coaches, and classmates at Kenyon College for helping me reach my goals in the classroom and in the pool," Rowatt said. "The environment at Kenyon provided me with such a rich collegiate experience and the opportunity to thrive both academically and athletically."
Started in 1987-88, the Academic All-America of the Year honors "the best of the best" and represents "the epitome of what it means to be a successful student-athlete," according to Dick Lipe of Bentley College, Academic All-America chair at CoSIDA. From more than 360,000 student-athletes in the country, more than 10,000 are nominated for Academic All-America each year. Only 816 are selected as Academic All-America Team members. Of those, 24 are chosen as Team Members of the Year, and two are named Academic All-America of the Year.
Rowatt, who received a Barry M. Goldwater Excellence in Education Scholarship while at Kenyon, won two major prizes at the College's Honors Day ceremonies in April. The biology department awarded her the Robert Bowen Brown Jr. Prize for the best original or research work. And she was one of two winners of the Jess Willard Falkenstine Award, honoring athlete-scholars.
One of the nation's leading liberal arts and sciences colleges and home to the Kenyon Review, Kenyon College offers 1,550 students a challenging educational experience enriched by a culture of friendship. Graduates of the college have included actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and Pulitzer-prize winning author E. L. Doctorow.