ACC awards three Panthers postgraduate scholarships

The ACC awarded three Panthers postgraduate scholarships | Photos courtesy of Jeff Ahearn and Nikki Moriello

The ACC awarded three Panthers postgraduate scholarships | Photos courtesy of Jeff Ahearn and Nikki Moriello

By Dan Sostek / Sports Editor

Despite their Pitt athletic careers coming to an end, three Panthers earned a final victory Wednesday morning.

The ACC awarded football offensive lineman Artie Rowell, gymnast Lindsay Offutt and volleyball middle hitter Amanda Orchard postgraduate scholarships to allow them to further their academic careers. Rowell, Offutt and Orchard were three of 52 conference athletes who the ACC presented with postgraduate scholarships.

The ACC chooses recipients who have “performed with distinction in both the classroom and their respective sport, while demonstrating exemplary conduct in the community.” All recipients receive $5,000 toward their graduate educations.

Rowell and Offutt received the Weaver-James-Corrigan Award, named after former ACC commissioners Jim Weaver, Bob James and Gene Corrigan.

Orchard was one of three athletes to receive a Thacker Award scholarship, joining University of Louisville soccer player Jerry Ramirez and University of Miami diver Kara McCormack. The award honors play-by-by announcer Jim Thacker, and recipients must demonstrate “outstanding

performance both in athletic competition and in the classroom and intend to further their education through postgraduate studies at an ACC institution.”

Rowell started 27 career games at center for the Panthers and served as a team captain in 2015, as well as a former president of Pitt’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He also serves as one of 15 nationwide student athlete representatives who vote on governance rule change propositions under the NCAA Division I autonomy process.

Rowell graduated from Pitt with a degree in business finance and is currently pursuing an MBA at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.

Offutt is a two-time All-East Atlantic Gymnastics League first-team honoree on the beam and floor and won the EAGL beam championship in 2015. She currently ranks second in Pitt history in the beam and floor, while sitting tied for second in the all-around.

Offutt will graduate with a degree in political science after earning three berths on the EAGL All-Academic team and recognition as a 2014 National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches and Women All-American Scholar-Athlete.

“I am blessed to be a student-athlete in the greatest conference in the country,” Offutt said in a statement. “The ACC is more than exceptional, and it is an honor to have been chosen for this award out of the hundreds of outstanding and deserving student-athletes in the conference.”

Orchard has been a star for the Pitt volleyball team over the past two years, nearly boosting the Panthers to the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament in both seasons. She has earned All-ACC, American Volleyball Coaches Association first-team all-region and AVAC honorable mention All-American each of the last two seasons.

Orchard will graduate with an anthropology degree. She earned recognition as a Senior CLASS first-team member, which recognizes athletes who exhibit high excellence in character, competition, the community and the classroom. The ACC named her to Academic Honor Roll in 2014-2015 and the Big East named her an Academic All-Star during the 2013-2014 academic year.

“I am honored and grateful to be receiving the Thacker Award,” Orchard said in a statement. “I cannot thank the University of Pittsburgh and the ACC enough for their support during my volleyball career and helping me with my future. I am truly blessed to be a part of such an amazing Pitt family and a great conference.”

The ACC will recognize all 52 of the recipients April 13, at the Sheraton Greensboro at Four Season Hotel Imperial Ballroom in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the Cone Health ACC Postgraduate Luncheon. The Nat Greene Kiwanis Club will host the event, and ESPN will present it.

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