President & CEO Sara Ray Stoelinga, PhD inducted into University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame
On Friday, October 22, 2021, Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford President and CEO Sara Ray Stoelinga, PhD, was inducted into the University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame for her accomplishments and leadership in track and field and cross country during her undergraduate career.
Stoelinga was a 4-time conference champion in track and field and cross country, and received All-Conference honors 8 times. She qualified for NCAA Nationals 4-times across her college career, placing 9th at NCAA Nationals in the 1500m in 1994. Stoelinga was also a member of the school-record holding 4X1600 meter relay team. For her leadership on and off the track, Stoelinga was selected as the team Most Valuable Player (MVP) by her teammates 4-times in her collegiate career, as well as a team captain for both track and cross country her sophomore, junior and senior years.
In 1995, Stoelinga was selected by the University of Chicago Athletic Department to receive the Gertrude Dudley Medal which is presented annually to one female athlete in her senior year for remarkable leadership and skill in women’s athletics. Stoelinga continued to serve as the University of Chicago Women’s Assistant Coach for track and field and cross country from 1995–1999. She also competed in the post-collegiate track circuit in the 1500m, coming within a few seconds of qualifying for the Olympic trials in 2000.
Stoelinga completed her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD in sociology at the University of Chicago. She went on to serve as the Sara Liston Spurlark Director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI), a non-profit organization committed to bridging the worlds of education research and practice in a way that contributes meaningful new knowledge on what matters most for school improvement and student success to educators and education policymakers nationwide. Stoelinga also served as a clinical professor on the University of Chicago’s Committee on Education, advising and teaching undergraduate and graduate students.
Her selection for the University of Chicago Athletics Hall of Fame is Stoelinga’s third award from the University of Chicago. In 2015, she was selected for the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Considered to be the oldest award for excellence in undergraduate teaching in the United States, this prestigious award is nominated by undergraduate students and chosen by a committee of cross-disciplinary faculty members. In 2016, she was selected for the Don York Award for Faculty Initiative from the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement. This award is given to University of Chicago faculty and staff for significant contributions and service to the community.
Stoelinga joined Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford as the President & CEO in May of 2019, working with a talented team of leaders to lead a significant financial and operational transformation. Easterseals Serving Chicagoland and Greater Rockford has two pillars of work focused in the autism and early learning spaces, and provides outstanding services to more than 20,000 clients each year in the Chicagoland and Greater Rockford area.
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