Ishaq Pitt
WASHINGTON -- Maryland-Eastern Shore junior c was named the 2014 winner of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year award. 

Pitt was attending an annual symposium organized by Diverse Issues In Higher Education magazine, where he received the honor in a surprise announcement during an awards luncheon that recognized some of the nation’s top student-athletes.  

Among previous winners is Russell Wilson, quarterback for the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.  

A Canadian by birth who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Pitt is one of the university’s most visible student-athletes.  

In addition playing Division 1-level basketball, he is serving this year on the Student Government Association's executive board and is president of the university’s chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants. 

He was recognized a week ago during the 61st annual Honors Convocation for being a dean’s list student during the spring and fall semesters in 2013.   

Pitt was selected a year ago to the Honor Court by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, a program that recognized 785 student-athletes from 285 colleges and universities for their performance on the court and in the classroom. He was UMES’ Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 2013.  

The university’s athletics department nominated Pitt for the 2014 Ashe award, which was presented in conjunction with a day-long program “dedicated to encouraging high school and college student-athletes to set and achieve higher academic goals.”  

Symposium participants heard from current and former college and professional athletes, college athletic academic advisors and other experienced experts in the field discuss the challenges of being student-athletes. Pitt was recognized for being a success in both roles.

In a Jan. 24 profile published in The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times, the newspaper reported his current grade-point average is 3.94. During the just-completed basketball season, he averaged 5.3 points per game, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists.  

Pitt enrolled at UMES thinking he wanted to earn a business degree, but switched majors after taking an accounting class his freshman year.  

“I always loved math and Soduku and stuff like that,” he told The Times. “Balancing the accounts was like a puzzle or a game and I like the way it was and the way it all came together.”  

Pitt also told the newspaper he is looking forward to an internship this summer with Deloitte, the internationally renowned accounting and consult firm, where he will work on auditing projects. After earning his UMES degree, Pitt has his sights set on an MBA he hopes to earn by attending graduate school at an Ivy League institution.