TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Atlantic Coast Conference announced on Wednesday a list of 54 student-athletes who have been selected for the 2017 Weaver-James-Corrigan Award. Among the scholarship recipients are three from Florida State including seniors Ellie Cooper (softball) and Melanie Keil (indoor volleyball) along with former Seminole Cole Hensley (swimming). The Weaver-James-Corrigan and Jim and Pat Thacker postgraduate scholarships are awarded to selected student-athletes who intend to pursue a graduate degree following completion of their undergraduate requirements.
Each recipient will receive $5,000 toward his or her graduate education. Those honored have performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sport, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.
Since 1994, Florida State has had 52 student-athletes recognized for the honor, including seven from softball.
Ellie Cooper; Florida State; Sport Management; Softball; Fenton, Mo.
Ellie Cooper is a two-time member of the All-ACC Team, earning a spot on the First Team in 2016 and the Second Team in 2015. She has helped lead the Noles to Women’s College World Series appearances in 2014 and 2016, while FSU topped the ACC in each of her first three seasons so far, earning regular season and tournament championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Cooper earned NFCA Southeast All-Region Second Team honors in 2016, finishing with a .353 batting average, 47 RBI and 50 runs scored. The second baseman has been named to the All-ACC Academic team in each of her last two seasons and was a Capital One Academic All-Region District 4 First Team member in 2015.
“We are really excited about Ellie Cooper receiving the ACC Postgraduate scholarship,” said FSU softball head coach Lonni Alameda. “Ellie has been a tremendous leader on and off the field for us and represents everything FSU softball stands for as our team captain this season. She aspires to be a coach some day and has all of the attributes to relate to complete student-athlete.”
Thaxter (Cole) Hensley; Florida State; Physics & Mathematics; Swimming; Winter Springs, Fla.
A two-time ACC Championship finalist in the 200 fly, Cole Hensley placed sixth in the 200 fly in 2016 after taking eighth in 2015. He also scored 10th place points in the 100 fly at the 2016 ACC Championships behind a career best time of 47.13. Hensley earned the ACC Male Swimmer of the Week following his victory in the 200 fly at the 2015 All Florida Invite. He was the men’s team captain for the 2015-16 season. Hensley is a three-time Golden Torch winner.
Hensley plans on pursing his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics.
“Being a member of the student-athlete community at FSU has been one of the greatest honors of my life,” Hensley said. “My time at Florida State has taught me more about self-discipline, time management and hard work than any other experience I’ve had and each of these experiences has had a drastic impact on my academic life. I would like to thank the FSU athletic department and the ACC for the opportunities and this prestigious award.”
Melanie Keil; Florida State; Dietetics; Volleyball; Berlin, Germany
Melanie Keil is a two-year member of the FSU indoor volleyball team where she helped the Seminoles to a pair of NCAA tournament berths. Keil delivered the ace that lifted FSU over Florida in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament in order to advance to its third sweet 16 in four seasons. She earned Second Team All-ACC honors and AVCA All-East Region accolades. Keil earned the Golden Torch honor in 2016 after making the Dean’s List. She enjoyed a terrific senior season, leading the team in blocks with 167 (1.55 per set) while adding 170 kills (1.36 per set). In 2015 she was one of three Seminoles will at least 100 kills (132) and finished the year with 11 solo stops.
“I’m very proud and honored for her that she has received the ACC postgraduate scholarship,” head coach Chris Poole said. “She worked so hard with her grades and had an awesome year on the court. Mel has represented Florida State Athletics and Academics in a first class manner and this scholarship will help her continue her education.”
The Weaver-James-Corrigan Award is named in honor of the late Jim Weaver and Bob James, as well as Gene Corrigan, the first three ACC commissioners.
The league’s first commissioner, James H. Weaver, served the conference from 1954-70 after a stint as the Director of Athletics at Wake Forest University. His early leadership and uncompromising integrity are largely responsible for the excellent reputation enjoyed by the ACC today.
Robert C. James, a former University of Maryland football player, was named commissioner in 1971 and served in that capacity for 16 years. During his tenure, the league continued to grow in stature and became recognized as a national leader in athletics and academics, winning 23 national championships and maintaining standards of excellence in the classroom.
Eugene F. Corrigan assumed his role as the third full-time commissioner on September 1, 1987, and served until August of 1997. During Corrigan’s tenure, ACC schools captured 30 NCAA championships and two national football titles.
Prior to 1994, the Weaver-James postgraduate scholarships were awarded as separate honors. The Jim Weaver Award, which originated in 1970, recognized exceptional achievement on the playing field and in the classroom, while the Bob James Award, established in 1987, also honored outstanding student-athletes.