May 14, 2014

Shaw Honored with Southland F.L. McDonald Postgraduate Scholarship

CORPUS CHRISTI – Senior Texas A&M - Corpus Christi women's tennis player Cassie Shaw is one of six winners of the Southland Conference's F.L. McDonald Postgraduate Scholarship, the league announced today. Shaw was selected along with two men's student-athletes and three women's student-athletes in the conference. All six student-athletes hold a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The honorees will be recognized during the Southland Honors Ceremony on Tuesday, May 20, at the Westin Stonebriar Resort in Frisco, Texas.

"We are all so proud of Cassie," Director of Tennis Steve Moore said. "If anyone deserves this, she does. She has been one of the most dedicated teammates and all-around hardest workers I've ever coached. Cassie maintained a 4.0 GPA while balancing an incredibly demanding schedule, playing Division I tennis as well as working at the university. Any person associated with our team has the highest respect for the hard work and sacrifice Cassie has put in. I think she is a great role model for young student-athletes, that if you are extremely disciplined and have a great work ethic you can excel as both a student and an athlete.

"It's one thing to make a 4.0 but it's even an extra special accomplishment to make a 4.0 when you are missing a great deal of school, traveling with the team, spending hours every week in the training room, and countless hours on the courts and holding down a job. It just takes absolute tenacity of purpose to accomplish that." 

The McDonald Scholarship is the league's highest academic honor for its top graduates. The award is presented annually to graduating male and female letterwinners with the highest cumulative GPAs during their enrollment at Southland Conference universities. The $2,500 scholarship must be applied to graduate study at an institution of the recipient's choice.

Shaw will graduate on Saturday, May 17, with a bachelor's of science in kinesiology with a focus in sports management and a minor in business administration.

The Flower Mound, Texas native was one of the most spirited and vocal teammates the women's team has ever had. With the help of her leadership, the Islanders clinched their first Southland Conference regular-season and tournament championship along with their first NCAA Tournament berth. During the season, Shaw secured the match for the Islanders in No. 6 singles over Prairie View A&M in her first career singles match.

She was a member of the 2013 Islanders team that reached No. 60 in the ITA national rankings. The women's team joined the men's team as one of only 34 universities in the nation to have both teams ranked in the top 75 during the week of March 5, 2013.

Off the courts, she is one of the most active student-athletes, serving on the student-athlete advisory committee (SAAC) as the women's tennis representative. Prior to this year, she served as the vice chair from 2012-13. Since 2011, Shaw has served as a certified peer educator for the Islanders Athlete Mentor Program. Along with being a certified group fitness instructor and certified personal trainer, Shaw is part of Chi Alpha Sigma, the national college athlete honor society.

She is the third Islanders student-athlete in program history and second Islanders tennis player to receive the scholarship. She joins former men's tennis player Nathan Robinson (2012) and baseball player Paul Saville (2008) as a recipient of the honor.

"Our team was successful because of their character and work ethic, Cassie Shaw represents that as well as anyone," Moore added.

The award was established in memory of Dr. F.L. McDonald in 1996-97, a former president of Lamar University and 1999 Southland Hall of Honor inductee. McDonald served as Lamar's president in 1963 when the Southland Conference was established and is considered one of the league's founding fathers.

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