ITA endows achievement award

September 12, 2015

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The ITA Achievement Award will now be officially recognized as the ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award – as made possible by Margie and Stan Smith. The announcement of the endowment of the ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award took place Saturday at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Board Meeting at the Grand Hyatt New York.

“The extraordinary legacy gift from Margie and Stan Smith to the ITA, in honor of our good friend and colleague David Benjamin, symbolizes all that is great about college tennis – the rich history of the sport, the intersection between the best in higher education and on-court competition – and celebrates lives of service,” said ITA CEO Timothy Russell.

Now in its 22nd year, the ITA Achievement Award pays tribute each year to past participants in the world of varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their cho­sen careers. The spirit of the award honors both professional success and contributions to society, made either as a direct result of a career, or through humanitarian efforts.

“College tennis would not be where it is today if not for David’s 36 years of leadership,” said ITHF President Stan Smith. “The ITA created so many aspects of what is college tennis today, including: major tournaments, college rankings, the College Tennis Hall of Fame, year-end awards, a Coaches Board of Directors and the annual Convention. Both Margie and I feel strongly about the importance of education and college tennis. This award celebrates that combination in the most profound way.”

John Bridgeland, alumnus of the Harvard University Class of 1982 and the University of Virginia School of Law Class of 1987, was this year’s ITA Achievement Award recipient, honored earlier on Saturday in a ceremony hosted by the ITHF and presented by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. Bridgeland received a personally engraved Rolex timepiece from Mounia Mechbal, Vice President of Communications of Rolex Watch U.S.A., and was invited to watch a session of the 2015 U.S. Open from the President’s Box, courtesy of the USTA. He will also be recognized at the ITHF’s Legends Ball on Saturday evening.