Vasquez Honored by White House

July 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Former Maryland Terrapin Greivis Vasquez, a standout on the basketball court, was honored in our nation's capital on Friday morning for his work and dedication off the court.

Vaquez is one of the nine "Champions of Change" that was recognized by The White House, the U.S. State Department and U.S. AID, who honored leaders who have exemplified extraordinary successes and efforts toward the development of - and diplomacy with - their countries or communities of origin.

"The Champions that we recognize today have helped their countries and communities of origin, and in doing so have bettered our region as a whole," said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson. "These exceptional individuals, with their work in sports and community development, in education and financial inclusion, inspire others by their example. In a region with such profound human links between our societies, ideas and inspiration spread quickly to the benefit of people all over the Americas and the Caribbean."

The Champions of Change program is part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for their work to serve and strengthen their communities.

Vasquez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, recently completed his second NBA season with the New Orleans Hornets. After receiving his degree in communications from the University of Maryland in 2010, Vasquez realized a lifelong dream by being drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft to play for the Memphis Grizzlies. He averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 136 career games at the University of Maryland and as a senior won the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's top collegiate point guard.

Vasquez also earned consensus second team All-America honors in his senior season. Off the court, he devoted much of his free time over the years to youth sports camps in Venezuela and was invited to partner with the US State Department in their "Sports Diplomacy" program to help foster improved relations between the two countries.