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Woman of the Year finalist: Elizabeth Tucker

Tucker arrived at Notre Dame uncertain if she would contribute to her team; she left with myriad successes both on and off the field

Tucker was the first student-athlete in Notre Dame history to win all four of the university’s major athletic honors in the same year.

Elizabeth Tucker
University of Notre Dame
Women’s Soccer
Division I
Atlantic Coast Conference

Academics
GPA: 4.00
Major: Accountancy
Two-time first-team Academic All-America honors
NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient
Dean’s list every semester
Notre Dame’s Hamilton Award for Accountancy, 2014

Athletics
National champion, 2010
2012 U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team player pool
First student-athlete in Notre Dame history to sweep all four of the university’s major athletics honors in the same year

Community Service
Organizations served: Fighting Irish Fight for Life, Vivian Harrington Gray Tax Assistance program, Perley Elementary School, Monroe Park Grocery Cooperative, among others
Tara K. Deutsch Award, 2014 (Given to a Notre Dame student who displays exemplary social consciousness)

Leadership
Two-time team captain
Two years on campus SAAC executive board

Elizabeth Tucker graduated in May with a slew of academic and athletic honors as well as more than 2,000 hours working with the homeless, elderly and children. Of all of those accomplishments, though, one of her fondest memories came from working with the Fighting Irish Fight for Life program. She and the rest of Notre Dame’s women’s soccer team “adopted” Maria, a leukemia patient from South Bend Memorial Hospital, and made her feel like a true part of the team. Tucker was the main contact with Maria’s family and still stays in touch today.

“It’s pretty easy to use your status as a student-athlete to brighten someone’s day,” Tucker said. “It was a really special relationship to develop and I think our team and Maria’s family were able to learn from each other over the past couple of years.”

Tucker wouldn’t have met Maria without college soccer. She had played the sport since kindergarten, but, for years, didn’t give much thought to a college career until a new coach encouraged her to consider playing the sport at the next level.

“I was still skeptical,” she said.

But she was intrigued. Tucker joined the Fighting Irish in 2010 and, despite being confident in her abilities, wasn’t certain if she would be able to secure much playing time. She viewed being a student-athlete as an honor, not a right, so she got to work. Tucker said her fear of failure pushed her to perform.

And perform she did. Her freshman year, Tucker started in 22 of 25 games and won a national championship. She was a team captain by her junior year. As a senior, her teammates dubbed her their most valuable player.

“Everyone has been blessed with particular talents and abilities. You have an obligation to develop them and see where they can take you – and also other people,” she said. “If you keep working hard you can look back and say it was worth it.”