SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (April 8, 2012) – The Mount Holyoke College Department of Athletics will be joining up with the NCAA to celebrate its inaugural Division III Week from April 9-15. Around the nation, schools and conferences have joined the effort to highlight the academic and athletic accomplishments of student-athletes, as well as their leadership, community service and campus involvement.
With more than 440 members, 40 conferences and 170,000 student-athletes, Division III is the NCAA’s largest and most diverse division. At Mount Holyoke, approximately 25% of all students participate on either varsity or club teams.
Division III Week was introduced to highlight the unique Division III student-athlete experience, which offers a highly competitive athletics environment, a commitment to academic excellence and time to pursue other interests. Division III schools strive to provide student-athletes with the opportunity to discover their potential and develop their passions through full participation in campus life, and ultimately to dedicate themselves to success as citizens and leaders in society.
In what has become an annual tradition, Mount Holyoke’s student-athletes will demonstrate their unity by wearing matching t-shirts on Tuesday. The blue shirts will feature the National Student-Athlete Day logo on the front and the slogan "Title IX: Putting Women in Play for 40 Years" on the back. A gathering of about 500 student-athletes is expected on Skinner Green at 12:25 p.m.
National Student-Athlete Day recognizes the accomplishments of student-athletes nationwide who excel in the classroom, on the playing fields and in their communities. It has been celebrated annually on or around April 6 since 1987. The program was created by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports NCAS and the Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society, with partnership from the NCAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations. NCAA involvement began in 1994.
Tuesday’s festivities will continue with a pivotal lacrosse showdown between longtime rivals Smith and Mount Holyoke at the Turf Field. All athletes have been encouraged to attend the game wearing their National Student-Athlete Day shirts. The contest is slated to begin at 6:00 p.m. and will be featured by the NEWMAC as part of its Division III Week celebration.
On Wednesday, Mount Holyoke will honor Title IX’s 40th Anniversary with a special showing of the documentary "A Hero for Daisy" at 7:30 p.m. in Cleveland L2. The film was written and directed by former rower Mary Mazzio ’83. After an outstanding career for the Lyons, Mazzio went on to represent the United States at the 1992 Olympics.
Mount Holyoke will host the Seven Sisters Tennis Championship at the tail end of Division III Week. The tournament is scheduled to begin on Saturday and conclude on Sunday. Smith, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley and Vassar will make their way to South Hadley for the annual event.