DAPHNE, Ala. — The public is invited to join as the United States Sports Academy holds its 32nd Annual Awards of Sport program, a celebration of sport and art and “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, 10 November 2016, on the Academy’s campus located at One Academy Drive in Daphne, Ala. A reception will follow. Those interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at (251) 626-3303 or email communications@ussa.edu.

The Awards of Sport celebration honors many of the world’s top athletes and sport professionals who have made significant contributions to sport, as well as artists who capture the spirit of sport through their work.

Chosen by the Academy’s Art Committee, the 2016 Sport Artist of the Year, Sculptor, Steven Whyte, and the 2016 Sport Artist of the Year, Painter, Gregory Burns, will be honored. Each will present the Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archive (ASAMA) with an example of their work that will become part of the museum’s collection.

The Sport Artist of the Year Award is presented to an individual who captures the spirit and life of sport so that future generations can relive the drama of today’s competition. The recipient may use a variety of art media including film, video or sculpture to depict the breadth and scope of both the agony and the ecstasy of sport.

Burns, who resides in Singapore, is a world champion Paralympic swimmer who has won five gold and silver medals and broken four world records in three Paralympic Games. He is also a world-class contemporary artist, whose abstract impressionist paintings and exhibitions have received international acclaim for more than three decades.

Whyte, who resides in Carmel, Calif., has received acclaim for his highly detailed and stirring works on the dynamic spectacle of athleticism. One of his most famous works is a 36-foot-long monument to the tradition of Texas A&M University’s dedicated student fans, referred to as the “12th Man.” It graces the entrance to Kyle Field stadium.

The Academy will recognize LaTanya Sheffield as the recipient of the 2016 Alumna of the Year Award. Sheffield is a former Olympic hurdler and American record holder who is now a successful college assistant track coach at Long Beach State University in California. She recently served as assistant coach for USA Track & Field at the 2016 Rio Olympics, working with the women’s sprinters and hurdlers.

Also to be recognized at the event will be individuals awarded Academy’s National and International Honorary Doctorates that honor exceptional contributions to sport.

Héctor F. Cardona of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will receive the 2016 International Honorary Doctorate for his work as a leader instrumental in the success of sport in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Cardona is serving his fourth term as president of the Central American and Caribbean Sport Organization (CACSO), which oversees the Central American and Caribbean Games.

Charles “Chuck” Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, will receive a National Honorary Doctorate. He is credited for making swimming the most successful of Team USA’s Summer Olympic sports, having served as the executive director of USA Swimming since 1997 and as chief executive officer of the USA Swimming Foundation since its inception in 2004.

Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, President Emeritus of the Academy, will receive a National Honorary Doctorate for his leadership in the founding of the Academy in 1972, as well as his service overseeing the growth and progress of the Academy for 43 years as President. He continues to serve the Academy as President Emeritus.

Also at the event, the Academy will present its Distinguished Service Award to Ms. Gretchen Kelsey Brown and Dr. Dirk Craen, recognizing their long-time contributions to sport.

Brown is co-founder of Athletic Business magazine and chief executive officer of Athletic Business Media, Inc. Athletic Business is read in print by more than 40,000 subscribers in sport related fields and has expanded into digital media and live events. The company also hosts the Athletic Business Conference.

Craen is president of the European University Business School, which is consistently ranked among the top business schools in Europe. Craen has served since 1998 as president of the private, triple-accredited business school. It has campuses in Spain, Switzerland and Germany and has partnered with nearly 70 other institutions worldwide.

At the conclusion of the Awards of Sport program there will be a special dedication of the Dr. Robert “Bob” Block Library in honor of the first chairman of the Academy Board of Trustees, as well as the dedication of the Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich Gallery in honor of the Academy’s Founding President.

Numerous other honorees in the 2016 Awards of Sport program have been given their awards in special presentations around the world. For a complete list of all honorees in the Academy’s 2016 Awards of Sport program, go here.

The Academy’s Awards of Sport, which each year serve as “A Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete,” pay tribute to those who have made significant contributions to sport, in categories as diverse as the artist and the athlete in several different arenas of sport. The awards honor exemplary achievement in coaching, all-around athletic performance, courage, humanitarian activity, fitness, and media, among others. The Academy’s American Sport Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) annually recognizes these men and women through its Sport Artist of the Year, Honorary Doctorates, Distinguished Service Awards, Medallion Series, Outstanding Athletes, College Football Game of the Year, and Alumni of the Year awards.

Founded in 1984, ASAMA is dedicated to the preservation of sports art, history, and literature. The ASAMA collection is composed of nearly 2,000 works of sport art across a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, assemblages, prints and photographs. The museum is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.asama.org.

Based in Daphne, Ala., the United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.