Oct. 23, 2008
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) named former women’s golfer Alejandra Diaz-Calderon one of 2008’s five John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship winners. The McLendon scholarships have been awarded for nine years, and Diaz-Calderon is the first graduate of Notre Dame to earn the honor.
The scholarship will provide Diaz-Calderon, a 2008 graduate of Notre Dame, with a $10,000 grant to be used towards postgraduate studies in athletics. Diaz-Calderon has been accepted to the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Master in Sports Business Management program. At Notre Dame, she graduated from the Mendoza College of Business with a 3.515 grade-point average with a degree in finance.
Diaz-Calderon was a two-year captain on the women’s golf team and played in five events in her Notre Dame career. Although she battled injuries throughout her career, Diaz-Calderon had a valuable presence on the team as a motivator and leader. She also represented the golf team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and received the team’s Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award during her junior and senior seasons.
Diaz-Calderon’s leadership qualities extended beyond the Irish golf team and athletic department and into the community. Through Habitat for Humanity, she organized a golf tournament to raise funds to build houses for Hurricane Katrina victims. In addition, Diaz-Calderon was involved in the D.A.R.E. program to educate elementary school children about the importance of goal setting. She was also asked to be the guest speaker at several Notre Dame benefaction dinners.
In four seasons of play, Diaz-Calderon appeared in 15 tournaments for the Irish, posting an 82.00 stroke-average. She made her debut in the Irish scoring lineup at the Lady Boilermaker Invitational in the spring of 2005, as one of her rounds was scored.
Diaz-Calderon is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico. Prior to her time at Notre Dame, she attended the American School Foundation of Guadalajara. In both 2003 and 2004, Woodlands Magazine recognized her as the best junior golfer in Mexico.
Including the 2008 recipients, the McLendon scholarships have been awarded to 50 student-athletes over the past nine years. Aside from being the first graduate of Notre Dame to earn a McLendon Scholarship, Diaz-Calderon is also just the second honoree to hail from a BIG EAST institution, joining Connecticut’s Carey Dorn, a recipient in 2000. Louisville and South Florida each had one honoree before joining the BIG EAST Conference.
The other four winners of the 2008 John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship include Keenan Blalark (Northern Illinois), Keunta Miles (University of Central Florida), Araceli Ortiz (Stanford University) and Carl Pendleton II (University of Oklahoma). Aside from pursuing a degree in athletics administration, candidates are required to have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and must have demonstrated leadership qualities on an institutional or community level.
The scholarships are named in memory of legendary basketball coach John McLendon, who was the first black coach hired by a predominately white institution when, in 1966, he was chosen to coach Cleveland State. He coached Cleveland State for three seasons, and returned to serve as an advisor to the Cleveland State athletic department from 1991-99. McLendon was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.