Converse College’s commitments to women in science and to building an athletic program that prioritizes academic excellence were at the forefront during the College’s annual Founder’s Day ceremony on Friday. The event featured the inaugural presentation of the Weisiger Cup to an outstanding senior athlete and the presentation of two scholarship awards to incoming freshmen who have been named Weisiger Outstanding Scholar Athletes. The awards are made possible through a $1 million gift commitment from Charlotte, N.C. residents Agnes and Ed Weisiger.
“The Weisiger Outstanding Scholar Athlete awards enables Converse to advance two priority programs, the sciences and athletics, by providing scholarship funds that attract students who excel both academically and athletically. The Weisiger Cup provides an opportunity to celebrate a senior student-athlete who has distinguished herself as a leader, as a valuable member of the campus community and as an asset to her team,” said Converse president Betsy Fleming. “It is fitting that Agnes and Ed Weisiger have made these awards possible, for it was their generosity that enabled the 2001 construction of our Weisiger Center, which is the cornerstone of our athletics complex. As the home of the Converse Valkyries, that outstanding facility helps Converse recruit and retain student-athletes from across the southeast and as far afield as Arizona, Indiana, Brazil and Russia.”
The sterling silver, hand-engraved Weisiger Cup will be permanently displayed in the Weisiger Center and will bear the names of its honorees. A smaller engraved version will be presented annually to the award recipient. Elizabeth (Betsy) Ruppert of Wapakoneta, Ohio was recognized as the first recipient of the Weisiger Cup during the Founder’s Day service.
Majoring in art education, Ruppert’s athletic accomplishments include
- Selection as a member of NCAA Div. II All-Academic Cross Country Team (2007, 2008);
- Scoring the first goal ever for the newly formed Valkyries lacrosse team;
- Leading the Valkyries cross country team to its highest finish ever at the 2008 NCAA Div. II Southeast Regional (6th place team);
- Placing among the top three runners on Converse’s cross country team for four years;
- Playing two years as a forward on the Valkyries basketball team.
Off the court, Ruppert played an active role in the Spartanburg Chapter of Girls on the Run, a non-profit prevention program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running. The program addresses all aspects of girls’ development – their physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being.