Emily Gitman, '16, is an accounting major and member of the women’s tennis team. With one of the highest GPAs among student athletes, she was named University of Richmond’s first-ever Scholar-Athlete of the Year during the Scholar-Athlete Breakfast held in February.

Bruce Matthews, assistant director of athletics and academics, explained, “This is the first year we’ve presented this award. It’s given to the student-athlete who embodies academic excellence at the highest level. Emily not only excels in her business coursework but she also does very well in the science classes she takes out of curiosity. In the end, she was chosen for the breadth of her academic achievement.”

“It was an honor to be recognized for this award,” Gitman shared. She not only excels in accounting and tennis, but also devotes herself to community service, having been involved with the Save a Mom Project, which “promotes awareness and raises money for the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer among women in the Dominican Republic,” through the Sophomore Scholars in Residence program’s Business of Science class. 

Born and raised in Israel, Gitman began playing tennis at the age of 13. “My coach suggested I apply to colleges in the U.S. I didn’t know at the time how great an opportunity it would be to play tennis at a university in the States, but my mother encouraged me to consider this path, and here I am today.” Gitman entered Richmond on a full athletic scholarship in 2012. 

Gitman spoke on her experience of balancing school and tennis. “It really depends on your team and your coach. Mark Wesselink, the head coach, is very supportive and understanding of the fact that we’re students first and foremost. As a result, my teammates and I work as hard as we can on and off the court to continue growing athletically and academically. The professors are also very understanding of the time commitments required of athletes, and they help make our schedules work.” 

Now in the spring of her junior year, Gitman has settled into the fabric of life at Richmond and the Robins School. She said, “I’ve grown close with several of my professors, and they’ve really helped me to succeed as a student-athlete to ensure I can manage all of my responsibilities. In my experience, I’ve seen that they really want their students to do well above all, and I think that has made my time as a Robins School student so much better. ” 

Joe Ben Hoyle, associate professor of accounting, shared, “Emily has been in two of my courses, Introduction to Financial Accounting and Intermediate Accounting II. She is truly a brilliant student. Even more, she works extremely hard. Throughout both classes, she was at my office with a list of questions by 8:00 a.m. virtually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She is an organized, intelligent and thorough student with a solid work ethic. Plus, as might be expected from an athlete, she is very competitive. She strives to be the best student in the room, and that is a key to success.”

This summer, Gitman will remain in Richmond for an internship with EY’s audit department. “I’m glad I’ll be able to stay in Richmond as it will allow me to continue practicing tennis over the summer while gaining this invaluable experience at EY. My expectations from the internship are to learn more about real-world accounting work as well as how I’d like to build my career beyond graduation. I look forward to seeing what the remainder of my time at Richmond has in store.”