Webber International University Standout Katie Thornton Earns 2013 PBA Billy Welu Scholarship Award
SEATTLE - Webber International University bowling standout Katie Thornton of Chesapeake, Va., has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Professional Bowlers Association Billy Welu Scholarship Award.
In addition to her accomplishments as a collegiate bowler, Thornton holds a 4.0 grade point average and is currently completing her MBA studies at Webber International in Babson Park, Fla., majoring in international business.
As a member of the WIU women’s bowling team since its inception in 2009-10, she was part of the team that made collegiate bowling history by winning the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championship in its inaugural season. She was also a member of the ITC championship team in 2012 and the NAIA championship team in 2013.
She earned NAIA and ITC first team honors and was also voted NAIA Player of the year in 2013. In 2012 Thornton received the Webber International President’s Award which recognizes outstanding achievement in academics, community service and sporting excellence.
“What intrigued me most about bowling for Webber was being a part of something new and establishing a successful women’s bowling program,” said the 22-year-old Virginia native. “Academically and athletically, Webber has been a perfect fit for me. My experience here has been very rewarding.
“It was quite a surprise and honor to win the (Billy Welu) scholarship,” she added. “It will be very helpful in my continuing education.”
Thornton has ambitious plans for her career both inside and outside of bowling. Ultimately she would like to earn a doctorate in educational leadership before combining a career in teaching business as well as coaching at the collegiate level.
Her other bowling honors include a NAIA second team selection and a first team NCBCA selection in 2012. She was also an International Bowling Media Association Player of the Year honorable mention selection in 2013.
As a volunteer she is active in church youth group activities and Special Olympics. She is also a member of the Tidewater Bowling USBC Association Hall of Fame and is a USBC Silver Level certified coach.
The $1,000 Billy Welu Scholarship is awarded annually in honor of the PBA Charter Member who won the BPAA All Star in 1959 before winning the 1964 and '65 USBC Masters events. He was PBA President for two years, a member of the PBA Tournament Committee for eight years and served for 16 years on the Executive Board. Welu, who also was a color analyst on early PBA Tour telecasts, was inducted into both the PBA and USBC Halls of Fame in 1975.