Kansas City, Mo. — The National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) has named University of North Carolina at Asheville Chancellor Dr. Anne Ponder recipient of its inaugural Dr. Claire Van Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award. Chancellor Ponder will be recognized May 17 at a celebratory luncheon held at the NCAA/NACWAA Women’s Leadership Symposium in Indianapolis.


Named for the former Cleveland State University President and University System of New Hampshire Chancellor, the Dr. Claire Van Ummersen Presidential Leadership Award honors a university or college president/chancellor, vice president or provost, who has demonstrated leadership and promotion of women's opportunities in athletics administration or coaching. Honorees are nominated by industry colleagues and selected by the Women’s Leadership Symposium Committee.


 “NACWAA is honored to recognize and commend Chancellor Ponder for her dedicated efforts in advancing women leaders,” said Patti Phillips, NACWAA Chief Executive Officer. “The success, advancement and leadership of women in athletics and higher education would not be possible without advocates and champions like Chancellor Ponder.”


Dr. Ponder became the sixth Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Asheville in October 2005. Before becoming Chancellor at UNC Asheville, Dr. Ponder served for 10 years as president of Colby-Sawyer College, a private liberal arts college in New Hampshire. Prior to that appointment, she held teaching and administrative posts at Elon College (now Elon University), Guilford College and Kenyon College.


“Chancellor Ponder has helped to make UNC Asheville a more diverse and inclusive community and she is a magnet for women and minorities with talent and potential,” said nominator Janet R. Cone, UNC Asheville Director of Athletics. “She has an 'eye' for those who are smart, honest and kind, and works to maximize and celebrate the growth of these emerging professionals. She selects leaders carefully, builds on their strengths, equips them, believes in them, listens to them, encourages them and backs them.”


"UNC Asheville is gratified that our chancellor is receiving a national award recognizing that we do Division I the right way," stated Bruce Peterson, member of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees liason with athletics.


Dr. Van Ummersen, Vice President of the American Council of Education’s Center for Effective Leadership, is a passionate advocate for the leadership enhancement for women in athletics and higher education. Dr. Van Ummersen has inspired thousands of students, coaches, professors, and administrators around the country.