Yale senior forward Aleca Hughes, whose efforts to help save lives have been inspired by her late teammate Mandi Schwartz, was named the winner of the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup Wednesday night in a ceremony held at the Egyptian Ballroom at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
Hughes started a number of initiatives, including the Mandi Schwartz Foundation and the annual “White Out for Mandi” fundraiser game at Ingalls Rink each fall. The first two “White Outs” raised more than $50,000.
Hughes has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the value of marrow donation and umbilical cord blood donation for patients with life-threatening illnesses. She has been one of the driving forces behind the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale, which is led each April by the women’s hockey, football and field hockey teams.
Named after legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented annually to two distinguished athletes – one collegiate and one professional – who have made the greatest difference in the lives of others. Pat Summitt, the former Tennessee women’s basketball coach, was honored as the professional recipient Wednesday night. Hughes is the first Ivy Leaguer to win the collegiate honor.