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December 2, 2004

UCSD's Sally Ride Receives NCAA's Highest Honor

Sally K. Ride, the first American woman in space and a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, has been selected by the National Collegiate Athletics Association as the recipient of the 2005 Theodore Roosevelt Award, the highest honor the NCAA bestows on an individual.

The award, also known as the “Teddy,” will be presented to Ride, a former tennis student-athlete, at the NCAA Honors Dinner during the annual NCAA Convention on January 9, 2005 in Grapevine, Texas.

The Teddy is presented annually to a former NCAA student-athlete for whom competitive athletics in college and attention to physical well-being after graduation have been important factors in a distinguished career of national significance and achievement.

The award is named after President Theodore Roosevelt, whose concern for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics led to the formation of the NCAA in 1906. Past recipients have included a variety of public- and private-sector leaders including Byron R. White (1969), Omar Bradley (1973), Althea Gibson (1991), Bill Richardson (1999), William S. Cohen (2001), Eunice Kennedy Shriver (2002) and former presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower (1967), Gerald R. Ford (1975), George H.W. Bush (1986), Ronald Reagan (1990). Last year’s award winner was Alan Page.

Ride was a member of the Stanford University tennis team from 1969-73 and became the team’s number one women’s single player. Prior to transferring to Stanford as a sophomore, Ride was on the varsity tennis, basketball and field hockey teams at Swarthmore College.

In 1973, Ride received a bachelor of science in physics and bachelor of arts in English. While continuing her graduate studies at Stanford, where she eventually received a master’s degree in physics in 1975 and Ph.D. in astrophysics in 1978, Ride continued her involvement in sports. She competed in intramural volleyball and helped form a women’s rugby club team. She also was a tennis instructor during the summer and competed in road races.

Ride was selected for NASA’s astronaut corps in 1978 and became the first American woman in space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983. During that flight and her second spaceflight aboard Challenger in 1984, she deployed communication satellites, operated a robot arm and conducted experiments in materials, pharmaceuticals and Earth remote-sensing.

Ride has continued her distinguished career at NASA since her historic space flights. She is the only person to serve on the accident investigation boards for both Space Shuttles Columbia and Challenger. She also created and was the first director of NASA’s Office of Exploration. She was NASA’s first director of Strategic Planning, initiating strategic planning and producing a report on the future of the space program titled “Leadership and America’s Future in Space.”

Ride is currently the Ingrid and Joseph Hibben Professor of Space Science and professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. She is also the founder, president and CEO of Imaginary Lines, Incorporated, an education media company devoted to creating communities, providing services and developing products and programming for girls and young women interested in math, science and technology.

Ride is the author of five children’s books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2003 and the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame in 2001.

The “Teddy” honoree is selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which comprises eight athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former students-athletes. The committee members are: Cedric W. Dempsey, president emeritus, NCAA; Clyde Doughty Jr., athletics director, New York Institute of Technology; Jo Ann Harper, director of athletics, Dartmouth College; Susan Hartmann, professor of history, Ohio State University; Calvin Hill, consultant, Alexander & Associates, Inc.; Karen Johnson, director of institutional research, Alfred University; and Valerie A. Richardson, associate athletics director and senior women’s administrator, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Candidates are nominated by NCAA member institutions.

Media Contacts:
Kent Barrett
, NCAA (317) 917-6117
Kim McDonald, UCSD (858) 534-7572


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