GW Sailing's Skye Kussmann Inducted Into ICSA Hall of Fame
2013 Graduate is Recipient of James Rousmaniere Award for Student Leadership
May 21, 2013
George Washington sailing alumna Skye Kussmann ('13) was inducted into the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Hall of Fame on May 30 as the national recipient of the organization's James Rousmaniere Award for student leadership.
Kussmann's induction and Rousmaniere Award comes on the heels of earning the Robert Purrington Award for outstanding contributions to college sailing from the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) on April 14. She traveled to St. Petersburg, Fla., for her induction at the ICSA Awards Banquet on May 30.
The Rousmaniere Award recognizes "extraordinary leadership and achievement by an undergraduate whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the development, progress, and success of his or her club or team, conference, or the ICSA."
Over the past four years, Kussmann has been a leader and advocate for the growth of the sailing program at GW. Her proposals and lobbying for support from alumni, students and the college sailing community led the effort to elevate the status of the team from a club to varsity sport upon the release of GW Athletics' new Strategic Plan in February 2012.
The GW sailing team became a varsity program on July 1, 2012 and completed its first varsity season last month, seeing marked improvement throughout 2012-13 behind Kussmann and first-year head coach John Pearce.
"To me, what distinguishes Skye as a student leader has been her persistence," said Coach Pearce. "She and the other seniors have worked hard over their entire college careers to grow the team, raise funds, recruit new team members and petition the university for additional support. It was a process that started about 10 years ago with student leaders from that era and has now come to fruition. They encountered many setbacks and challenges along the way, but ultimately succeeded in attaining varsity status and really contributing to the growth of MAISA and the ICSA at large."
Kussmann's name will be emblazoned on the Rousmaniere Award trophy housed in the ICSA Hall of Fame in the Robert Crown Sailing Center on the U.S. Naval Academy campus in Annapolis, Md. She joins Coach Pearce, a two-time ICSA All-American at Hobart and William Smith College, in representing the Colonials in the Hall of Fame.
"It means a lot to myself and my teammates that GW has been recognized on the national level," said Kussmann. "For me, winning the James Rousmaniere Award is proof that GW sailing has been recognized as a high-quality and competitive program on the national level as a result of the perseverance of my teammates and myself. I am beyond proud and thankful to have such amazing teammates and team alumni that have made this program so successful, I would not have achieved this award without their support and dedication that has made us a family."
Kussmann added: "As a freshman, I could have never imagined being in the ICSA Hall of Fame, it was this mystical place for the greats of sailing. I think it's a testament to our team's efforts over the past four years that our first plaque in the Hall of Fame is for leadership; we have always believed that positivity and leadership are the keys to improving athletically. I believe that GW sailing under Coach Pearce will continue to be selected into the ICSA Hall of Fame in the coming years both for leadership and sailing achievements."