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Director of Athletics M. Grace Calhoun was named a NACDA Athletic Director of the Year on Wednesday.

Credit: Sage Levine

M. Grace Calhoun, Penn's director of athletics, was recognized as a NACDA Athletic Director of the Year on Wednesday, marking the first time an official from Penn has earned the distinction. 

Calhoun was one of four winners from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and will be honored on June 11 at NACDA's annual convention in Orlando.

"I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award," Calhoun said in a statement. "This recognition is a reflection of the outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff who represent Penn as we make an impact through athletics and recreation. It is humbling to join the list of previous winners and I am so thankful to the committee for selecting me."

Criteria for the award include: service as an AD for a minimum of five academic years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments.

In recent months, Calhoun has also been appointed chair of the NCAA Division I Council and promoted to chair of the NCAA Strategic Vision and Planning Committee.

In her five years with the Red and Blue, Penn teams have amassed 20 Ivy League or conference championships across 13 sports. Additionally, 18 Ivy League Players of the Year and 15 Coaches of the Year have come from Penn in these years.

Calhoun's role has also recently been endowed by Mr. and Mrs. T. Gibbs Kane, Jr. and was renamed the T. Gibbs Kane, Jr. W'69 Director of Athletics and Recreation last Tuesday.

"I am incredibly grateful to Tory and Gibb for this gift, which will provide the resources necessary to enhance the student-athlete experience," Calhoun said in a statement. "Gibb has consistently demonstrated leadership within the Penn Athletics community and this gift highlights two key themes of our campaign: endowment support and support that benefits multiple areas within the Division."

"I am delighted to have a hand in ensuring that the Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics has the resources necessary to provide the valuable education that takes place whenever our athletes gather to practice and compete," Gibb Kane said in a Penn Athletics statement.

The gift comes as part of Penn's Game Onward Campaign for the Future of Penn Athletics, which has so far raised over $112 million of its $150 million goal.

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