Wildcats’ Williams Honored for Service to Conference Advisory Committee

The North Eastern Athletic Conference has selected Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Hanna Williams as its 2017-18 Female Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Member of the Year. She joins Keuka College’s Dakota Skinner, who was recognized as the NEAC Male SAAC Member of the Year earlier this week.

Hanna WilliamsThe annual SAAC awards, which began in 2014-15, were established to recognize the multiple contributions of SAAC members throughout the conference. Each member school has an opportunity to nominate one male and one female SAAC member from their institution based on leadership roles within the group, dedication to community service and involvement on campus. All nominations were reviewed and voted on by the SAAC advisers from each of the NEAC’s 14 full-member institutions.

Williams, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and human factors design and an associate degree in studio arts, represented the Wildcats on the women’s soccer and tennis teams. She was a four-year SAAC member, including this past year as president, and was instrumental in developing the Penn College SAAC. Williams helped organize various community service projects that included move-in day, student-athlete volunteers for the Salvation Army 10K/20K Community Challenge and the college’s Military Appreciation baseball doubleheader.

“Hanna has been a fantastic representative of what a true student-athlete is,” former Penn College women’s soccer coach John McNichol said. “Her dedication to helping grow the Penn College SAAC to a thriving student-run organization has been amazing. Her hard work, organization and energy led to more student-athletes getting involved and participating in many community service projects and SAAC-led events. Hanna’s leadership as SAAC president will be felt for years to come, as she has helped lay the groundwork for the Penn College SAAC to continue to thrive in the future.”

A native of Marion, New York, Williams played a pivotal role in organizing Pie the Athletics Staff, Yards for Yeardley and Penny Wars, the Wildcats’ three main events during the college’s observance of NCAA Division III Week in April. As a dual-sport student-athlete with a 3.97 GPA, she made an impact in the Williamsport community by helping to facilitate a school supply drive and volunteering hours at the Firetree Place after-school program. Williams also spearheaded a three-day Read Across America event in various Williamsport elementary schools.

Jackie Klahold, Penn College SAAC adviser and head softball coach, recognizes that Williams’ efforts have created a new standard for the Wildcats’ SAAC group moving forward.

“I am so proud of Hanna,” she shared. “She has done an incredible job of demonstrating what it takes to be a successful Division III student-athlete on and off the field. This past year, Hanna was instrumental in leading our student-athletes and Athletics Department to our highest volunteer hours, participants and money raised. She has definitely left her mark here at Penn College and set the bar high for our current and future SAAC members.”

Williams, who served as a conference SAAC representative at the 2017 NCAA Convention, led the 2017-18 Penn College SAAC to 2,502 total hours volunteered. Under her leadership, 686 individuals participated in events and Penn College raised $4,683. Some of the charities that benefited from Penn College’s efforts are the Salvation Army, Autism Speaks, Ronald McDonald House, Wounded Warrior Project, Special Olympics of Lycoming County and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She is the second student-athlete from Penn College to be the recipient of the NEAC Female SAAC Member of the Year award. (Nicole Lo Furno, a softball player who earned degrees in applied management and baking and pastry arts, was honored for the 2015-16 season.)

“Hanna’s impact on our campus is immeasurable,” said John Vandevere, Penn College director of athletics. “Her work ethic, character and passion are hard to quantify, and she has left a lasting impression. We have been very fortunate to have Hanna for four years and we’re proud of all she has accomplished. We will miss her dearly.”

Honorable mentions for the award were Alyssa Rex, volleyball, Keuka College; Katherine Vahsen, track and field, SUNY Cobleskill; and Amber Wood, volleyball, Bryn Athyn College.

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