Gene Sperling to receive 2003 ITA Achievement Award


SKILLMAN, N.J. – Gene Sperling (University of Minnesota ’82) will be honored as the winner of the 2003 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Achievement Award, presented by Montblanc, on August 28 at Tennis Week’s U.S. Open party at the “92” Suite in New York.

The ITA Achievement Award was created in 1994 to pay tribute to past participants in the world of collegiate tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The distinguished people honored annually as the ITA Achievement Award winners are honored for both their professional successes and their contributions to society.

Sperling was captain of Minnesota’s tennis team, which in 1981 was Big Ten
co-champion. He currently serves as Senior Fellow for Economic Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to this, he was National Economic Advisor to President Bill Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council from 1997-2001.

The ITA Achievement Award candidates are nominated by their past tennis coaches or by the current coaches of their alma mater’s tennis programs. From these nominees, finalists are selected by the ITA, which serves as the coaches’ association governing body of collegiate tennis. The winner is then determined by the ITA Achievement Awards Selection Panel: David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director; Dr. Henry S. Bienen, President of Northwestern University; Senator John Breaux (D-LA), 1995 ITA Achievement Award recipient; Chris Evert, former tennis champion and President of Chris Evert Enterprises; Gene L. Scott, Founder, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of Tennis Week; Alan G. Schwartz, President of the U.S. Tennis Association; Stan Smith, former tennis champion; and Mark Stenning, Executive Director of International Tennis Hall of Fame

“The lessons learned on the court over a period of four years are a vital companion to the academic lessons of higher education,” said David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director. “The winner of the ITA Achievement Award is an individual who benefited from the experience of intercollegiate competition, went on to greater accomplishments, and made significant contributions to his community.”

Sperling (pictured left with Andre Agassi and President Clinton at the White House in 1999) will be honored at Tennis Week’s U.S. Open party, where he will be presented with a specially engraved plaque and Montblanc “Hemingway” pen by Stan Smith. He will also be a guest in the USTA President’s Box at a day session of the U.S. Open. In addition, the men’s tennis program at Minnesota, Sperling’s alma mater, will receive a $2,000.00 donation from the ITA.

Sperling, who lives in Washington, D.C., graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Minnesota with a major in Political Science in 1982. While at Minnesota, he lettered on the varsity tennis squad for four years for then-coach Jerry Noyce.

As Senior Fellow for Economic Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, Sperling works on economic analyses and budgetary, tax, Social Security, and globalization issues. He also serves as Director of the Center for Universal Education, Chair of the U.S. chapter of the Global Campaign for Education, contributing editor and columnist for Bloomberg News, economic advisor for several key senators and members of congress, Governor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, member of advisory board for Vista Research, and is a consultant and contributing writer for the Emmy Award-winning NBC television drama, The West Wing.

Sperling served as Deputy National Economic Advisor from 1993-96 during President Clinton’s first term and from 1997-2001 he was National Economic Advisor to President Clinton and Director of the National Economic Council.

As National Economic Advisor and White House chief economic advisor, Sperling was responsible for coordinating the economic cabinet members in making policy recommendations to the President and President Clinton’s efforts to institute debt reduction, Save Social Security First, as well as globalization and trade issues.

Sperling (a photo left from his UM playing days) was a principal negotiator for the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement, a principal negotiator with Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers in finalizing the Financial Modernization Bill and together with United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, successfully concluded the historic China-WTO agreement in Beijing.

Sperling played a lead role in the design and passage of many of President Clinton’s other initiatives, including such legislation as the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act/Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion; the passage of the China WTO Legislation; the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit, Direct Student Loans; the Digital Divide Initiatives; the Workforce Improvement Act; debt relief for highly-indebted poor nations; New Markets legislation, Empowerment Zones and CDFI Acts; the GEAR-UP mentoring legislation; new literacy initiatives; and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Sperling graduated in 1985 from Yale University Law School where he was senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. He began his political career as economic advisor to the Dukakis Presidential Campaign in 1988, while also working as a lawyer on several constitutional appellate briefs from 1988-89. He then served from 1990-92 as economic advisor to New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

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