In 2011, Dogus Balbay from Istanbul was selected as StudyInAmerica’s inaugural Most Valuable International Student. He graduated from the University of Texas as one of its top students after serving as a leader to the Nationally ranked Longhorns basketball team. Since graduating, Dogus has continued to strive. He is one of Turkish Basketball League’s top professional players as the starting guard for the Anadolu Efes Pilsen Sports Club. He is also a member of Turkey’s National Basketball Team. In 2011, Dogus suffered a severe ACL Injury to his knee. While many experts questioned his return, Dogus knew what he wanted and with the hard work and character that he possesses, was able to not only prove his doubters wrong but excel as one of the very best. In addition to his fame, he continues his service to mankind. He is currently the head of a foundation intended to assist orphans victimized from the recent earthquake foundation of Van, Turkey. We salute Dogus for his continued accomplishments and his service as a valuable citizen to society.
Over 110,000 international students graduated from American Institutions of Higher Learning this year. There are many international students who achieve great success in and out of the classroom and possess character that inspires and impacts others. Our Most Valuable Student Recognition is given to a student who epitomizes well rounded diversity and demonstrates intelligence, strength and an extreme level of character. Like Dogus Balbay, our class of 2012 International Student of the year excelled as a recognized NCAA Student Athlete. StudyinAmerica.com honors Ugur Atalay of George Washington University with this recognition. In the classroom, Ugur demonstrated prowess and was on the Deans List every semester of study. He double majored in Finance and International Business where he graduated cum laude from George Washington University’s Nationally Ranked Business Program. On the tennis court, Ugur was fierce and showed the heart of a champion. His impact to the GWU Colonials was immediate as he claimed the team’s #1 rank as a Freshman. After his first year, he was named the Colonials’ MVP and was recognized by George Washington’s trustees as the “Dallas Shirley Most Outstanding Senior Male Athlete” given to the student athlete who most excels in athletics, academics and community service.
This product of Istanbul’s Enka High School enrolled at George Washington University with a special maturity and was no stranger to competition. His father is an ex Tennis Champion of Turkey and mother is currently a nationally ranked bridge player. Since the age of 12, Ugur has been ranked #1 by the Turkish Tennis Federation respective to his age. Despite his prior success, Ugur never got ahead of himself and came to the United States with a precise goal and purpose. He adjusted to his new setting and remained on course to not only grow as a person but also lead to inject great value to his surrounding community.
Throughout his tennis career, Ugur demonstrated will and clutch. True to the meaning of his name, he brought his team “good luck”. He also portrayed leadership with impact. As a Junior and a Senior, he led the Colonials to consecutive Atlantic 10 Championships. In the Championship Match against Xavier, the Colonials needed a win by Ugur in both Singles and Doubles to turn a 3-2 deficit to a 4-3 win. Ugur won both to make history reality for George Washington University.
Men’s Tennis Head Coach Greg Munoz placed tremendous value on Ugur’s role to his team.
“Ugur has always been a team player who likes to keep a low profile. He plays from his heart. He let’s his racquet do the talking for him. The greatest feeling I ever had was knowing that if it came down to Ugur, I knew we would win. He never let me down in his 4 years at GW. He created a very special legacy for himself. This award speaks highly of his family and what he gave back to GW and the tennis community.”
Ugur is one of the best singles and doubles tennis players and one of the top International Student Athletes in the United States. In addition to being a student athlete, he has also demonstrated human values with stellar community service. Since his Freshman Year, Ugur has been a lead student spokesman in an effort to raise awareness for victims of Autism and Sickle Cell Anemia. His efforts did not go unnoticed by his community. In May 2012, administrators from the 14 institutions of the Atlantic 10 conference recognized him as a Recipient of their “Sportsmanship Award” given to acknowledge the highest standard of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship. Ugur is the 2nd George Washington student and first ever international student athlete to win this honor.
StudyInAmerica.com is very pleased to honor Mr. Ugur Atalay of Turkey as its Most Valuable International Student of 2012.