May 19, 2024
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Severn School to welcome WNBA star Elena Delle Donne at Astle lecture series

SevernSchoolSevern School is delighted to announce that the 2018 David Astle Memorial Lecture Series speaker is WNBA Star Elena Delle Donne, an inspiring American professional basketball player, advocate, and business woman. Delle Donne will address the Middle and Upper School’s on Tuesday, April 10th during a special afternoon assembly with a Q&A at 1:30 pm. The assembly will be open to Severn parents, alumni, and the greater community – registration is required.


The 2015 WNBA MVP, Elena Delle Donne is one of the most dominate players in the WNBA. Entering her sixth season in the league, the Washington Mystics star (#11) has earned four WNBA All-Star honors and is a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection. A member of Team USA, Delle Donne took home a gold medal during the 2016 Olympics and was the WNBA scoring champion in 2015. The 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year, the Delaware native was drafted second overall in the WNBA draft. Off the court, Delle Donne is a global ambassador to the Special Olympics and became the first national ambassador for the Lyme Research Alliance.

Elena Delle Donne will share her inspirational story of being a young basketball prodigy who gave up an impressive basketball scholarship for family and self-discovery. Elena began her journey in high school at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington where she was a three-time state champion and heralded as a High School McDonalds All-American and WBCA All-American. In 2008, she was named National High School Player of the Year by McDonalds, USA Today and Gatorade. After a difficult decision to leave home and play for the University of Connecticut, the top team in the nation, Delle Donne ultimately wanted to be closer to her family and began her legendary career at the University of Delaware. A 2013 recipient of the Senior CLASS Award and Honda Award, she was also a consensus First Team All-American and National Player of the Year candidate in her junior and senior seasons. Drafted by the Chicago Sky with the second overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, EDD instantly took the league by storm. Not only did she sweep WNBA Rookie of the Month accolades for her efforts throughout June, July, and August, she became the first rookie in WNBA history to win the WNBA All-Star fan vote. Remarkably, Delle Donne finished her rookie season ranked first in the league in free throw percentage (92.9), second in three-point percentage (43.8), fourth in scoring (18.1) and third overall in the WNBA MVP vote.

But Elena Delle Donne isn’t solely defined by her supremacy on the basketball court. That is to say, individual recognition means little; for her, deflecting credit is a visceral reaction. Perhaps the most powerful example of Delle Donne’s philanthropy was her recent honor of being named as the newest Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. EDD joins other Global Ambassadors to elevate the Special Olympics movement and advance opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities in honor of her sister – one of the most influential people in her life – Lizzie. Born blind and deaf with cerebral palsy and autism, Lizzie is a tremendous source of love and inspiration for Delle Donne (she graduated with a degree in human services with a focus in special education from the University of Delaware). Not only does Elena have a passion for helping people with special needs, she also hopes to raise awareness for Lyme disease, an ailment she has battled since 2008.

Additionally, Delle Donne has formed several partnerships with companies that share her vision. With a focus on excellence in sports, innovation, health and nutrition, Elena has partnered with Nike, Gatorade, and Christiana Care. Elena also plays host to De11e Donne Academy, a basketball camp that runs throughout the year, where she mentors and coaches girls ages 7 to 18. On and off the court she is motivated by two words, “Demand Excellence.” Elena Delle Donna is also a published author of two books for young adults, My Shot and Elle of the Ball. Follow Delle Donne on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @de11edonne.

The Astle Memorial Lecture Series is names for David Sheridan Astle , the late son of the Honorable and Mrs. John C. Astle, Maryland State Senator (District 30). The 23-year-old died tragically in December 1997, when a deer stepped into the path of a car he was riding in. A 1992 Severn School alumnus, David was an active member of the school community during his seven years as a student, and a well-liked member of the alumni body. He told his mother shortly before his death that he felt he had developed life-long friends while at Severn School. He realized Severn taught him more than the basics of education; Severn School helped develop his character by encouraging his own innate sense of integrity, responsibility, honor, and commitment. The David Astle Memorial Endowment, begun by Senator and Mrs. Astle in 1998, funds this annual lecture series through which knowledgeable and/or inspirational speakers are invited to share their expertise, experiences, and messages with the community.

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