John Thornton receives the 2009 ITA Achievement Award


SKILLMAN, NJ – John Lawson Thornton, a 1976 graduate of Harvard University, has been named the winner of the 2009 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Achievement Award, hosted by the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) and presented by Rolex Watch U.S.A.

Thornton was honored on Friday, September 11th during this year’s International Tennis Hall of Fame Board of Directors meeting, where he was presented with a distinctive Rolex timepiece. In addition to this special gift, the winner and a guest will be invited to watch a session at this year’s U.S. Open from the President’s Box, courtesy of the USTA, he was recognized during the ITHF’s Legend’s Ball. The ITA Achievement Award winner’s alma mater’s collegiate tennis program will also receive a $1,000 donation from the ITA.

After graduating from the Yale University School of Management in 1980, John began his career in investment banking with Goldman Sachs, and after a distinguished 23-year career, he retired in 2003 as President of the Goldman Sachs Group and member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Since 2003, John has been advising Chinese leaders and enterprises as China expands its global presence and role. In 2007, Institutional Investor Magazine named him one of the 40 individuals who have had the greatest influence on global financial markets over the past four decades.

John has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. since June 2003. In 2006, the Brookings Institution founded the John L. Thornton China Center (with offices in Washington and Beijing). The first Director of the Center was Ambassador Jeffrey Bader, who is now President Obama’s senior advisor for East Asia in the National Security Council. The aim of the John L. Thornton China Center is to address America’s inadequate knowledge and understanding of China, its domestic challenges and changing role in Asia.

In 2008, John was awarded the “National Friendship Award,” the highest award bestowed on non-Chinese by the Chinese Government. The ceremony was presided over by the Chinese Premier. John was also named by the Chinese Government as one of 15 “foreign experts” who have made the greatest contribution to the development of China in the past thirty years.

The ITA Achievement Award was created in 1994 to pay tribute each year to past participants in the world of collegiate varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The person honored annually by the ITA as the Achievement Award winner is unique in his or her character and accomplishments. The spirit of this award honors both professional success and contributions to society, made either as a direct result of a career, or through humanitarian efforts.

“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 great accomplishments, and has made significant contributions to his community.”

John Thornton is married to Margaret Bradham Thornton, a writer. They have four children and reside in Palm Beach, Florida.

The ITA Achievement Award winner is determined by a distinguished award selection panel. The members of the panel are: tennis legends Chris Evert & Stan Smith; Alan Schwartz, a Past-President of the USTA; David Dinkins, Former Mayor of New York City; Former Senator John Breaux (D-LA) & 1995 ITA Achievement Award recipient; Mark Stenning, Executive Director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame; John Fry, President of Franklin & Marshall College, and David Benjamin, ITA Executive Director.

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