Valedictorian, soccer alumnus nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year

Sarah Hirschmann, the 2020 University of Detroit Mercy valedictorian

Sarah Hirschmann, the 2020 University of Detroit Mercy valedictorian and former women’s soccer goalie, earned another important accolade as a nominee for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year.

Rooted in Title IX, the NCAA Woman of the Year Award was established in 1991 to recognize graduating female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.

Hirschmann graduated from Detroit Mercy with a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Arts in Primary Education, specializing in Language Arts with a minor in Leadership, with a 3.97 GPA. She was a member of the women’s soccer team from 2015-18, a four-year member of the Detroit Mercy Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and a three-time member of the Horizon League Fall and Spring Academic Honor Roll.

Away from athletics, she started a non-profit group, volunteered and played a key role in a number of University events.

She started “One Kid At A Time” in 2015, a non-profit organization sponsoring the education of two students in Kenya, and distributing funds throughout Detroit. She also spent two summers with the International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ), teaching children ages 1-16 in Nairobi, Kenya and Faridabad, India.

She also volunteered with Ford Community Corps Partnership, working at Detroit Public Schools with fifth graders and students with behavioral disabilities to improve mathematics and social skills through educational card games. In addition, she worked with the Zoe Counseling Services of the Detroit Public Libraries, tutoring students in and out of foster care and those who have fallen behind grade level and need extra help.

One of her big efforts on campus saw her take part of the National Jesuit Student Leadership Conference (NJSLC), where she helped lead a committee of 20 students to create the conference with Detroit Mercy serving as host for the first-time ever in 2019.

She also was part of the Ignatian Family Teach in For Justice (IFTJ), a national social justice conference in Washington, D.C., where students gather from around the country to learn about more ways to fight injustice and advocate for themselves and others. This conference also included an advocacy day at Capitol Hill.

A record 605 female college athletes earned nominations for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The nominees represent all three NCAA divisions, including 259 nominees from Division I, 126 from Division II and 220 from Division III.

NCCA Conference offices will select up to two nominees each from their pool of member school nominees. All nominees who compete in a sport not sponsored by their school’s primary conference, as well as associate conference nominees and independent nominees, will be considered by a selection committee. Then, the Woman of the Year selection committee, made up of representatives from the NCAA membership, will choose the Top 30 honorees — 10 from each division.

From the Top 30, the Woman of the Year selection committee will determine the top three honorees in each division and announce nine finalists. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then will choose the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year, who will be named this fall.

— Original story by Detroit Mercy Athletic Communications