March 12, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Two Notre Dame senior soccer players, Harrison Shipp and Elizabeth Tucker, who helped lead their teams to national championships during their respective collegiate careers, are each the recipient of one of the NCAA's most prestigious honors -- an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. Shipp and Tucker are the 51st and 52nd Irish student-athletes to win the award.
The NCAA postgraduate scholarships are one-time, non-renewable educational grants of $7,500. Fifty-eight student-athletes -- 29 men and 29 women -- are recipients from the fall season. Annually, the NCAA awards 174 postgraduate scholarships to 87 men and 87 women for fall, winter and spring sports.
To qualify for an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, a student-athlete must be nominated by his or her athletic department, have an overall grade point average of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) or its equivalent, and must have performed with distinction as a member of the varsity team in the sport in which he or she was nominated. The student-athlete must have behaved, both on and off the field, in a manner that has brought credit to the student-athlete, the institution and intercollegiate athletics. The student-athlete also must intend to continue academic work beyond the baccalaureate degree as a full-time or part-time graduate student.
Shipp is just the second Notre Dame men's soccer player to earn an NCAA postgraduate scholarship, following Matt Besler who was the program's first-ever honoree in 2008, while Tucker is the sixth Irish women's soccer player to have her name associated with the award. The five other women's soccer players to have earned the scholarship include: Jen Renola (1997), Jenny Streiffer (2000), Vanessa Pruzinsky (2004), Brittany Bock (2009) and Lauren Fowlkes (2011).
Shipp had a storybook final season in an Irish uniform as he led his squad to the 2013 national championship -- the first in program history. A native of Lake Forest, Ill., he led his team to a sterling 17-1-6 record and a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season crown in Notre Dame's first season as a member of the nation's most illustrious soccer conference. A forward, Shipp never missed a game during his collegiate career and netted 23 goals and dished off 24 assists in 84 contests.
The two-time Irish captain, who is currently a member of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, earned a bevy of accolades both on and off the field throughout this past season. Named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year, he was a unanimous first team All-America selection and was a finalist for both the MAC Hermann Trophy and the Senior CLASS Award. Selected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America first team, he was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the NCAA Championship while also earning all-tournament team honors. Shipp copped ACC first-team honors and was named to the ACC Championship All-Tournament team.
He graduated with a degree in finance from Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business with a 3.88 cumulative grade-point average and was a Dean's List honoree each of the last six semesters. Shipp garnered first-team Capital One Academic All-America accolades and was the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for Men's Soccer, the first such Notre Dame men's soccer player to earn that award. He was honored as the NSCAA Scholar-All-America Player of the Year and was named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America First Team. Shipp also copped the ACC Men's Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
A defender for four seasons on the Irish women's soccer team, Tucker served as team tri-captain as a junior and senior. The Jacksonville, Fla., native helped Notre Dame to four consecutive NCAA Championship berths during her career and the 2010 national title in her freshman season. She appeared in all 92 of Notre Dame's matches, earning 87 starts, while scoring 19 goals and dishing off 14 assists.
A possible candidate to be named valedictorian of Notre Dame Class of 2014, Tucker has maintained a perfect 4.000 grade-point average as an accounting major in the Mendoza College of Business and has been a seven-time member of the University's Dean's List. A two-time first-team Capital One Academic All-America selection in 2012 and 2013, she is one of just 15 Notre Dame student-athletes (and three women's soccer players) to earn the distinction of being a two-time first-team Academic All-America honoree.
"I am extremely grateful to the University of Notre Dame for providing me with opportunities that made it easy for me to succeed both on and off the field while I was a student-athlete," Shipp said. "These last three-and-a-half years have been such a whirlwind and it took me until my senior year to fully realize what great faculty, coaches, and peer leadership I was surrounded with on a daily basis. Although I have been fortunate enough to follow my dream of playing soccer professionally, it has also been part of my dream to get an MBA either while I am still playing or at the conclusion of my career.
"I committed to Notre Dame when I was a junior in high school because I felt it had the best combination of athletics and academics in the country. So it is only fitting that I end my career with a national championship, academic awards, and this postgraduate scholarship in my final year."
She has been extremely involved in the Irish Fight For Life program, which pairs teams and student-athletes with a patient in the pediatric Hematology/Oncology unit at South Bend's Memorial Hospital, providing the patients and their families with support as they undergoing treatment for various types of cancers.
Tucker also has participated in the Adopt-a-Family, Ronald McDonald House, Pediatric Christmas Party and Perley Elementary Tutor programs. She also has taken part in meet-and-greet events at local area middle schools, as well as soccer clinics throughout the South Bend area, notably with Michiana Special Olympians.
In addition, Tucker is part of the Notre Dame Tax Assistance Program, which annually goes out into the South Bend and surrounding communities to help low-income and disabled citizens with the preparation of the tax returns.
On campus, Tucker is highly invested in helping younger Notre Dame students reach their goals through the Notre Dame Peer Advisor Program, in which she meets with 50 freshmen to discuss their academic progress and social concerns. What's more, within Notre Dame's top-ranked Mendoza College of Business, Tucker served two years as a teaching assistant in two courses -- Managerial Economics and Information Technology Management. Tucker also is an active member of two highly-regarded Notre Dame student-athlete groups -- the Rosenthal Leadership Academy and the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).
"I am incredibly grateful to receive the NCAA postgraduate scholarship," Tucker said. "It will hopefully help me attend graduate school within the next few years, and represents one of the many dreams that the NCAA and Notre Dame athletics have made possible for me."
Notre Dame All-Time NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Recipients
1966 - Ed Dean (Track and Field)