Note: Tanya Schmidt will give the Homily at the 2012 Santa Clara Commencement Liturgy at 4 pm on Friday at the Leavey Center for all graduates and their families.
Santa Clara, Calif. – Imagine in your final days as an NCAA Division I student-athlete, after being honored and speaking to a room full of college presidents and administrators, the President of the NCAA applauds your efforts by personally stopping by your table. As he continues to acknowledge all you have done, he tells you he will see to it that the NCAA increases the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship award so you can receive matching funds at your graduate school, NYU. It's enough to make you run outside the room and do your happy dance without a care in the world! That's exactly what Tanya Schmidt did last Wednesday night.
Rewind for a second - Schmidt had to be pinching herself. Already awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in March for $7,500, the Santa Clara volleyball senior received the $5,000 West Coast Conference Postgraduate Scholarship Wednesday night at the WCC Awards Dinner in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. She now needed just $500 to reach NYU's Matching Funds goal!
Schmidt, who carries a 3.97 cumulative grade point average in English and is a graduate of the Harker School and a Cupertino native, received the WCC award from the league's commissioner, Jamie Zaninovich, and then spoke to the packed room passionately about the Bronco student-athlete experience. "Tanya's speech was so articulate, so thoughtful and with such a strong retrospective look at her WCC experience," said Bronco Associate Athletic Director Staci Gustafson. "She spoke about her entire experience – it was very cool! She was a true star."
Later that evening at the dinner, NCAA President Mark Emmert approached the table Schmidt was sitting at with Santa Clara president Michael Engh to her right and Gustafson to her left.
Emmert introduced himself and told Schmidt how impressed he was with her goals and her vision. He said that Santa Clara, as well as the NCAA, has many reasons to be proud of her. After verifying that she still needed $500 to meet the mark needed for NYU to match funds ($13,000), he gave her his card with his email and said, "Please contact me to follow up. I'm more than happy to have the NCAA help make your academic goals a reality."
Proving behind every good man is a good woman, DeLaine Emmert, Mark's wife, later came over to congratulate Schmidt with a big smile. "She told me that she was going to mention to her husband that the NCAA should increase my aid when they heard me speaking about it, but before she could say anything to him, he had already taken out a card and written down his information."
"I had to look around at the Santa Clara and USF people also sitting at the table to make sure that they were hearing Dr. Emmert too," said Schmidt. "I wanted to make sure that it was real."
After Emmert left the table Schmidt was beaming. Gustafson said, "What Mark Emmert did, adding money to her scholarship, was the right thing to do. You could see the joy in Tanya's face when he walked away and I am so glad I was there to witness that. When he spoke to Tanya, he was really listening and was so engaged. It's terrific he has the ability to do it (raise the money by $500). I think it was an experience that left all of us proud to be a part of the student-athlete experience at Santa Clara University."
"After celebrating with the people at my table, I excused myself for a moment to go outside and do a happy dance, which, naturally, included lots of arm flailing and jumping up and down with excitement. I saw a waiter laugh at me, but I didn't care. I was so happy," said Schmidt, who has already been accepted to a Master's Program at NYU. "Graduate school is expensive and with the help of the WCC and the NCAA, going to NYU to study English and American Literature is more of a reality now."
Bronco athletic director Dan Coonan is thrilled to see Schmidt receive so much recognition throughout her career, especially this year. "Tanya Schmidt is unquestionably one of the most impressive student-athletes to ever attend Santa Clara. She made an unmistakable impact on this program and on this University in her time here. We are all so proud to be associated with her, and can't wait to see what challenges see chooses to confront next in her life. She will make a difference!"
"It is an incredible honor to receive the WCC and NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships," said Schmidt. "I enjoyed meeting various presidents, athletic directors, and administrators at the dinner in Coeur D'Alene. It was great to see how much of an advocate each of the people working in the WCC is for the student-athlete experience. I am grateful I had a chance to spend time with and thank some of them before I graduate this Saturday."
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho – The 2012 West Coast Conference Mike Gilleran Scholar-Athletes of the Year and West Coast Conference Postgraduate Scholarship winners were announced at the third annual WCC Honors Dinner, held last week in conjunction with the Executive Council and Presidents' Council meetings at the Coeur d'Alene Resort with Santa Clara's female Postgraduate Scholarship winner coming from Santa Clara, volleyball's middle blocker Tanya Schmidt. BYU cross country standout Miles Batty was named both the male Mike Gilleran Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as a recipient of the WCC Postgraduate Scholarship. The female Mike Gilleran Scholar-Athlete of the Year winner was Kim Hill from Pepperdine University. Both Hill and Schmidt were in attendance to receive their awards.
The WCC Mike Gilleran Scholar-Athlete of the Year is selected by a vote of the WCC's Executive Council to recognize the finest accomplishments in athletics, academics and community service by individuals who have completed their WCC eligibility.
This year marked the ninth consecutive year that the WCC has awarded one male and one female student-athlete with a scholarship to assist with graduate school or professional school education. Candidates must own a minimum 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale, demonstrate a significant athletic contribution on the varsity athletic level in a WCC sponsored sport, and participate in a WCC sport for a minimum of two years. In addition, candidates must have a record of participating in campus or community activities, completed their athletic eligibility, and competed in intercollegiate athletics in the academic year in which they are nominated.
TANYA SCHMIDT, SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY, VOLLEYBALL
Tanya Schmidt will graduate from Santa Clara University with a 3.97 grade point average as an English major, minoring in both Classical Studies and Religious Studies. A member of the Santa Clara Honors Program and a three-time member of the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Schmidt plans to pursue her Master's in English and American Literature at New York University.
On the court, Schmidt was a four-year letter-winner for the Santa Clara volleyball team. She was an all-conference First Team selection as a junior, and was a candidate for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award in 2011. Schmidt served as a team captain for the Broncos as a senior.
In the community, Schmidt was one of five student leaders for the DISCOVER retreat through the University. She served as a peer educator on-campus, and took part in the Here For Kids International Project in the Dominican Republic. Schmidt was also one of two SCU students to take part in the Path to Peace Foundation's annual conference, co-sponsored by the United Nations.
MILES BATTY, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Miles Batty graduated from Brigham Young University as a five-time Dean's List selection with a 3.93 grade point average, double majoring in Neuroscience and Exercise Science. A three-time Mountain West Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Batty was named the recipient of the 2012 NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholarship. He plans to pursue a degree in medicine.
On the trail, Batty was the 2011 West Coast Conference individual cross country champion in his first season in the conference. As a junior, Batty won the national championship in the indoor mile, while running the anchor leg on the distance medley team that won the NCAA title.
In the community, Batty spent time as a volunteer tutor, a guest speaker, and participated with his cross country teammates in youth fireside events in competition host cities. Batty served as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and he was also the chair of the Service Committee of a local student church congregation.
KIM HILL, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, VOLLEYBALL
Kim Hill graduated from Pepperdine University this spring with a 3.40 grade point average as a Religion major. A three-time member of the West Coast Conference Volleyball All-Academic Team, Hill also earned three placements on the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll and was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.
On the court, Hill was a three-time All-American who participated in the NCAA Tournament two times. The West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2011, Hill led the Waves on a run to the NCAA Elite Eight in indoor, while helping lift Pepperdine to a national title in sand volleyball. She ranks sixth all-time in Pepperdine annals in both blocks and hitting percentage.
In addition to her work in the classroom and on the court, Hill served as a team captain for both the indoor and sand volleyball teams at Pepperdine. She participated in Pepperdine Project Serve, as well as a volleyball clinic in inner-city Los Angeles and taking time to read to students at a local elementary school.