honors alumni, under the age of 40, who have enhanced the prestige of the university by virtue of their character, integrity, and personal accomplishments.
Name: Patty Cisneros
Home: Urbana, Illinois
Employer: University of Illinois
Job Title: Head Coach, Wheelchair Basketball Team
PATTY CISNEROS ’00 graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in elementary education. She then earned a master's degree in education from the University of Illinois where, as a student, she helped lead the women's wheelchair basketball team to two consecutive national championships. Cisneros began her career in wheelchair basketball while still at VU, benefiting from the guidance of former director of athletics, Bill Steinbrecher '56. In 1999, Cisneros became a member of the United States Women's Wheelchair Basketball team, the same year in which her team won a silver medal in the Pan American Games. In the decade that followed, Cisneros was a member of various teams that enjoyed success in both national and international contests, including the World Championship, the U.S. Paralympics, the Japan World Championship, the North American Cup, the Walker Cup, the Roosevelt Cup, the Paralympics Games in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004 - gold medal), and Beijing (2008 - gold medal), the Wheelchair Basketball World Championship, the Parapan American Games, and the Pan American Games. In 2004, Cisneros was inducted into the Valparaiso University Athletics Hall of Fame. As well as a decorated athlete, Cisneros also has established herself as a successful teacher, serving as head coach for the University of Illinois Women's Wheelchair Basketball team, which she led to a national title in 2008. Also that year, she was nominated for the Best Female Athlete with a Disability ESPY and for the Sportswoman of the Year Award by the Women's Sport Foundation. Cisneros returned to VU's campus this past March to give the opening address to participants in the National Lutheran Basketball Tournament of Champions, an event that drew 3,000 participants and supporters from across the country.