ORLANDO, Fla. – The College Sports Information Directors of America held their annual induction to the Academic All-America Hall of Fame on Sunday evening, welcoming into the hallowed ranks a local leader in Valencia College’s Dr. Stacey Johnson.
Dr. Johnson currently serves as the President of Valencia College’s East and Winter Park Campuses, but has woven a long and storied career through the fabric of sports at the highest level. Her rise was sparked at San Jose State University, where education was born through an opportunity in sports – an athletic scholarship for fencing.
“Of course, that was the time that Title IX was just coming into existence and so I was one of the first of 200 women in the state of California to get an athletics scholarship,” said Dr. Johnson. “I could not have gone to school had I not had that opportunity, so it paved the way for me as it has for hundreds and thousands of women since that time.”
During her tenure at San Jose State she cultivated an elite status in the world of fencing, leading a 1980 US Olympic team that did not get to compete in coordination with the U.S. boycott of the games.
“I became involved with Anita DeFrantz, who is the head of the athletes, and who is a very well-known leader of boycott and I women in sports with the international Olympic committee – she’s a rower. We protested against that boycott and I spoke across the country on that. I became an active athlete. I really became an advocate for athletes,” explained the inductee.
The process sparked a movement, and a powerful career was born from the protests and fight for that Olympic bid. She became an icon within the scope of international fencing, serving first as a representative for the sport to the United States Olympic Committee, and then eventually as the first woman to hold a four year term as President of the U.S. Fencing Association.
As president, Dr. Johnson fought hard to open up each school of fencing available to women – breaking down the barrier for women to compete with not only the foil, but the Epee and Saber as well.
Dr. Johnson’s induction marks the first time that every inductee from a single year was female. Her counter parts on stage were Rachel Price Bell of the University of North Alabama, Heather O’Reilly of the University of North Carolina and Stephanie White of Purdue University.
ESPN’s Rece Davis hosted the ceremonies, presided over by CoSIDA President and UCF Associate Athletics Director Andy Seely.
“In our 2017 Academic All-America Hall of Fame class, we recognize four women who made major contributions to their respective collegiate sports and who continue to make significant impact in their professional careers,” said Seely. “As undergraduates, they excelled at the highest levels to their respective sports while also being committed to obtaining extraordinary academic success.”