April 7, 2016
By Chris Masters (contributions from CoSIDA and Notre Dame Monogram Club)
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Dr. Angelo Capozzi, a 1956 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and former Fighting Irish baseball player, leads a class of five distinguished professionals, all former collegiate scholar-athletes, who have been chosen as the newest members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America® Hall of Fame.
Dr. Capozzi becomes the eighth former Notre Dame student-athlete selected for induction into the Academic All-America® Hall of Fame, and the first since 2012, when former Fighting Irish women’s basketball great and 2001 graduate Ruth Riley earned enshrinement. With Capozzi’s induction, Notre Dame will have more Academic All-America® Hall of Fame members (eight) than any school in the country.
In addition to Riley, the other Notre Dame inductees include former football players Dr. Bob Burger (2006 inductee), Robert Thomas (1996 inductee), Dave Casper (1993 inductee) and Joe Theismann (1990 inductee), as well as basketball standout John Paxson (2005 inductee) and women’s basketball pioneer Dr. Carol Lally Shields (2011 inductee).
While at Notre Dame, Capozzi was a left-handed pitcher under longtime Fighting Irish coaching great Jake Kline ('21). Capozzi threw 48.0 innings in his career, compiling a 4-2 record with 31 strikeouts, earning a monogram in 1954.
After graduating from Notre Dame with honors in 1956, Capozzi attended the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago. He completed general surgery training at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, and plastic surgery training at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, before joining the Air Force. Stationed at the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, Capozzi served as Chief Plastic Surgeon until 1968, when he began private practice in San Francisco.
In 1976, Capozzi made his first international mission, joining Interplast (now called ReSurge) on a trip to Mexicali, Mexico, to assist children suffering from cleft lips and palates. Four decades and more than 60 mission trips later, he is still working to improve the lives of children around the world.
Today, Capozzi serves as medical director and co-founder of Rotaplast, an organization established with Rotary International in 1993. More than 20 years since its inaugural trip to Chile, Rotaplast has operated on approximately 20,000 children in 24 countries. The organization hopes to eliminate untreated cleft lips and palates in children worldwide by 2025.
For his efforts, Capozzi received the Dr. Thomas A. Dooley Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association in 2001, an honor conferred to an alumnus/alumna who has exhibited outstanding service to humankind. He was the 1997 recipient of the Bay Area Alumni Association Exemplar Award, and in 1985, recognized as the Bay Area Alumni Association Man of the Year.
Most recently in 2014, Capozzi was presented with the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s Moose Krause Award, the highest honor bestowed on an active Club member for service performed following his or her graduate from the University.
Joining Capozzi in the 2016 Academic All-America® Hall of Fame class are: Purdue University football star and 2009 Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback for the New Orleans Saints Drew Brees. TCU men's basketball standout and former Harvard Business School professor Dr. James I. Cash, Jr., Iowa State men's basketball standout and now head coach of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls Fred Hoiberg, and former University of Connecticut national player of the year and current University of Hartford women’s basketball coach Jennifer Rizzotti.
Created in 1988, the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame® recognizes Academic All-Americans who received their college diploma at least 10 years ago, have achieved lifetime success in their professional careers, and are committed to philanthropic causes.
The five new inductees join 137 members of the elite Academic All-America® Hall of Fame, which was created in 1988. They will be inducted on June 13 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, during CoSIDA's annual Academic All-America® Hall of Fame ceremony, one of the cornerstones of the organization’s yearly convention. The CoSIDA Convention itself will be part of the annual National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and Affiliates Convention for a fourth straight year.
The June 13 Academic All-America® Hall of Fame induction ceremony will feature ESPN’s Rece Davis as emcee and legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg, the ambassador of the Academic All-America® program, as special guest and presenter. At that time, Pro Football Hall of Famer and renowned Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, will be presented with the 2016 Dick Enberg Award.
“The impact that the Academic All-America hall of Fame Class of 2016 has had on college athletics was tremendous and makes this class one of the most memorable to date,” said CoSIDA president Judy Willson of the Mountain West Conference. “These five inductees each contributed at the highest levels to their respective college sports while also being committed to excelling academically, before embarking on impressive professional careers. We look forward to honoring each of them during Academic All-America Hall of Fame enshrinement in June.”
“This year's Academic All-America Hall of Fame ceremony will pay a meaningful tribute to the lives of five leaders and achievers who, through their continued commitment to excellence in their career paths - symbolize the values represented in the Academic All-America program,” stated CoSIDA Executive Director Doug Vance. “We take great pride in the honoring these outstanding individuals who had had a profound impact in such a positive way on the lives of others.”
Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s golf and women’s basketball programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), which contributed to this release.