UVA field hockey, lax standout Michelle Cusimano Vachris to receive top NCAA honor

Michelle Cusimano Vachris

Michelle Cusimano Vachris. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

UVA alum Michelle Cusimano Vachris has been selected as a 2021 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award recipient.

Vachris is one of seven former college student-athletes to receive the Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of their collegiate and professional achievements, as well as their civic contributions. She joins Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Cal, men’s basketball), Adam J. Burgasser (California-San Diego, swimming and diving), Michelle M. Marciniak (Tennessee, women’s basketball), Fernando Palomo (Texas A&M, track and field), Amy E. Reinhard (Harvard, softball, women’s basketball) and Lt. Col. Dan Rooney (Kansas, men’s golf) as 2021 recipients.

“I am truly honored to receive the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award,” Vachris said. “The University of Virginia has always held a special place in my heart. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a student-athlete where I had supportive coaches and wonderful teammates. At Virginia, I was inspired by those around me to work hard and to give back which is what I have tried to do in my professional career and in my community.”

As a goalie during her four-year career at UVA (1993-1996), Vachris was a contributing member of Virginia’s NCAA lacrosse championship team in 1993 and earned All-America lacrosse honors three times, including two first-team selections. She received national goalkeeper of the year honors in 1995 and 1996, and the Atlantic Coast Conference named her to its 50th Anniversary Team.

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association named her an All-American in 1996. She ranks second in school history in career saves (474), fourth in single-season saves (199) and fourth in career goals against average (1.28).

A two-time member of the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll, Vachris also appeared on the NFHCA All-Academic team and Atlantic Coast Conference Academic honor roll. She later graduated magna cum laude from New York Law School in 2000, where she also served as executive editor of the New York Law School Law Review.

Vachris currently serves as vice president and associate general counsel for labor and employment relations at ViacomCBS. She has been a member of the CBS law department’s diversity and summer internship committees. She has done pro bono work for several nonprofits and spoke on an ESPNW Campus Conversation panel, providing career advice to Virginia undergraduates.


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