SportsSU Women's Basketball

58th LetterWinner of Distinction Celebration to Honor Five

Five former Syracuse University student-athletes will take center stage at the 58th annual LetterWinner of Distinction dinner on Friday, September 8 at Drumlins Country Club. The recognition is bestowed upon individuals who have left their mark on the athletics program and for their success after graduation. The 2023 honorees include Kristyn Cook ’97 (basketball), Clothilde Ewing ’00 (lacrosse), Mary Ann Hopkins ’87 (field hockey), Brett Jefferson ’88 (lacrosse), and John Wallace ’96 (basketball).
 
“The five men and women we will honor are most deserving of this recognition,” said Director of Athletics John Wildhack. “The group includes accomplished business executives and leaders who have given back to their communities in many ways. Whether in the athletic arena or in their professional lives, Kristyn, Clothilde, Mary Ann, Brett and John are examples for all who have worn or will wear the Block S. We are excited to bring them back to campus to celebrate their success.”
 
The LetterWinner of Distinction reception will begin at 6 pm followed by dinner at 7 pm. Tickets are available online. For further information, please call ‘Cuse Athletics Fund Office (315-443-1419).
 
In addition to the annual LetterWinner of Distinction dinner, the honorees will be recognized during the Syracuse football game against Western Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 9.
 
Kristyn Cook ’97, G’99 (basketball)
The 1997 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Kristyn Cook served as a team captain as a senior in 1996-97. She was a member of the 1995-96 team that won the BIG EAST Conference co-championship. Cook earned All-BIG EAST Third Team honors as a sophomore. Cook tallied 963 points, grabbed 324 rebounds and had 131 assists and 91 steals in 91 career games at Syracuse. A native of Downingtown, Pa., Cook was a 1996 BIG EAST Academic All-Star and earned Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List honors in every semester at Syracuse.
 
Cook was an active member of the Student-Athlete Council, a Van Dyne Nursing Home volunteer and participated in a variety of speaking engagements and reading to school students. She also interned in the Syracuse Sports Information Office.
 
She earned two degrees – a bachelor’s degree in policy studies (1997) and a master’s in public administration (1999) – from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. After Syracuse, she attended The American College of Financial Service (chartered life underwriter, Insurance 2008-2009) and the General Management Program at Harvard Business School where she was elected class speaker for her graduating class. 
 
In 2007, Cook began her career as an Owner-Agent at State Farm. She advanced through the company, holding various positions, including as an agency executive assistant, vice president of agency/sales, area vice president and senior vice president of agency and marketing. Cook is currently a chief agency sales and marketing officer and is responsible for the marketing department and for the State Farm Agency force. In her community, Cook has volunteered as a member of the Teach For America Board of Directors and on the Member Board of Directors for The American College of Financial Services. She earned the 2018 Women Who Mean Business Award by Atlanta Business Chronicle, the 2017 Rising Star Champion Award by the Georgia State Riskies, and the 2016 Georgia Influencer by Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
 
Clothilde Ewing ’00 (lacrosse)
A three-time Orange captain and goaltender for the Orange during the first three seasons of the program’s existence, Clothilde Ewing graduated in 2000 with a dual degree in political science and broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ewing, still holds Syracuse records for save percentage and goals against average in a season and career, and the single-game saves record (25 at Connecticut in 1999). In 35 career games, she recorded 285 saves and had a .552 save percentage.
 
The 1999 Orange won the ECAC Championship and the 2000 squad earned the program’s first NCAA Tournament invitation. Ewing earned recognition for her work in the classroom with a spot on the 2000 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division I Academic Squad and won 1999-2000 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars Award.
 
Ewing began her professional career as an associate producer and assignment editor for CBS News. After four years at CBS, she became a senior associate producer at Harpo-Productions. In 2011 she became the director of constituency press for Obama for America, the former president’s re-election campaign. Ewing remained in the political field for the next three years as the Chief of Strategic Planning for the City of Chicago. In 2016, Ewing joined Tempus, Inc. as the director of communications where she stayed for three years until she moved to The Chicago Community Trust, where she is the vice president of strategic communications.
 
Ewing is also an author of two picture books: “Stella Keeps the Sun Up” and “Stella and the Mystery of the Missing Tooth.”  She started writing with the goal of seeing more children of color in books about belonging and joy rather than being primarily defined by race and struggles. Her work was featured in People Magazine, Fox News and WBEZ Chicago.
 
Mary Ann Hopkins ’87, G’89 (field hockey)
A 1985 Coaches’ Association Mid-East Regional All-America honorable mention selection, Mary Ann Hopkins led the Orange to a 10-6-1 record as the team’s leading scorer in her junior year. She was one of Syracuse’s top three scorers in each of her four seasons at Syracuse. The 1986 team captain scored 14 goals and had 24 assists (38 points) in her four-year career.
 
After graduation, Hopkins began a nearly 28-year tenure at the Parsons Corporation as a project manager and project engineer. After six years she was promoted to section manager and then to department and program manager just three years later. In 2003 Hopkins became vice president/sector business development for three years before taking over as vice president/senior vice president for business development. Hopkins closed out her time at the Parsons Corporation serving as executive vice president for global business development for three years and then as group president responsible for the federal business unit from 2012 to 2016 before leaving the company. In September 2016 she became the group executive at Arcadis and spent four years in that role before becoming the chief growth officer in 2020 until June 2023.
 
Hopkins also holds non-executive board positions as a member of the independent board of directors of American States Water Company (since 2019) and Blumont, Inc. (since 2016).
 
Hopkins earned a BS in civil engineering in 1987 and her masters in civil engineering in 1989. In 2005 she completed the advanced management program at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. 
 
Brett Jefferson ’88 (lacrosse)
A four-year lacrosse student-athlete, Brett Jefferson was a senior on the 1988 National Championship team that went undefeated. During his four-year tenure (1985 to 1988) he played in eight games as a reserve goalie.
Jefferson earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 1988 from the College of Arts and Sciences and his master’s degree in management/finance from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in 1996.
 
Jefferson is the Founder and co-CIO (Chief Investment Officer) of Hildene Capital Management, LLC, a $14.2 billion asset management firm specializing in structured finance investments. In this role, Jefferson oversees all investment decisions and strategies of the firm. Last year Hildene established Ludlow Re, a Cayman-based reinsurer. For seven consecutive years, Jefferson has led Hildene to the Wall Street Journal (formerly Barron’s) Top 100 Annual Hedge Funds list.
 
He is a 10-year member of the Tewaaraton Award Foundation Board of Directors, which annually recognizes the best men’s and women’s collegiate lacrosse student-athlete and honors the Native American heritage of the sport. Since 2019, he has been a lead investor and a member of the board of directors for the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL). He also serves on the executive committee for Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization dedicated to partnering children facing serious illness and disability with college sports teams.
 
Jefferson continues to stay connected to Syracuse and the lacrosse program as a mentor and supporter.
 
John Wallace ’96 (basketball)
After nearly two decades, John Wallace still ranks third on the Syracuse career scoring and rebounding record lists.  In 1996, Wallace helped lead the Orange to the NCCA Championship game. During the NCAA Tournament run, Wallace hit the game-winning three-point field goal against Georgia in the Sweet 16 that moved the Orange to the Elite Eight.
 
A freshman All-American, Wallace was a standout throughout his Orange tenure. He earned All-BIG EAST honors in each of his four seasons at Syracuse, including All-BIG EAST First Team recognition as a junior and senior.  As a senior, he set the Syracuse record for most points in a single season scoring 845 points. A first-round selection in the 1996 National Basketball Association Draft by the New York Knicks, Wallace played in the league for seven seasons. In 2020, his Syracuse #44 jersey was retired.
 
Wallace enjoyed a nine-year professional basketball career, including with the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, and played two seasons internationally with Panionios Basketball Club (Greece) and Snaidero Udine (Italy). After retiring from the sport, he worked as a public relations specialist with the New York Knicks, in client sales with Hildreths Glass Inc., as a business development manager for David Schuldiner Inc., as a consulting specialist for Ghering-Tricot Corporation. Wallace is a board member for the Willow Street Foundation and Heavenly Productions Foundation. The Rochester, N.Y. native earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Syracuse in 1996.
 

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