SAINT LEO, Fla. - The Saint Leo University Department of Athletics will pay tribute to the 25th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Thursday, February 3, 2011.  The Lions have also announced that LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam has been selected as the recipient of the Saint Leo Women in Sports Achievement Award and is the guest speaker for the evening’s ceremony.

Saint Leo, which has one of the longest-running Girls and Women in Sports Day celebrations in the state of Florida, is honoring Sorenstam as the 16th recipient of the award as someone widely known as a pioneer with tremendous vision, passion and enthusiasm for the sport of women’s golf.

On National Girls and Women in Sports Day, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the Day and of this year's theme, "Play, Believe, Achieve."  Luckily, these are challenges that Saint Leo confronted many years ago.  It is with events such as this that we honor all girls and women with dreams, both at Saint Leo University and abroad.  Through various scholarships and awards we honor and thank those who have so generously offered them guidance in their quest for achievement.

In recognizing Sorenstam, the Lions are honoring one of the most dominant players in women’s golf. Throughout her storied career, she has rewritten the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards and events, and brought unprecedented attention to women’s golf. Her success has changed how women’s golf is played, covered and viewed, and in her rise to mainstream athlete and celebrity, she has had a positive impact on all women’s sports.

Since walking away after 73 LPGA Tour titles, including 10 major championships, she has kept busy with various business ventures, including an academy near her Orlando home.

The only woman to shoot 59 and one of only six to complete a career Grand Slam, Sorenstam is a dominant force in the game, especially during a five-year stretch when she won 43 times and finished in the top 3 in nearly 70 percent of her starts.

She also made worldwide headlines when she became the first woman in 58 years to compete in a PGA Tour event, doing so at the Colonial in 2003.

Annika was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 9, 1970. Her parents Tom and Gunilla nurtured her love of sports, and she began playing golf at the age of 12. She remains close to her family, especially her sister Charlotta, who also plays on the LPGA Tour.

A full day of events is scheduled during Sorenstam’s trip to Saint Leo as she will first visit Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club where she will conduct a clinic to help benefit The First Tee, an initiative of the World Golf Foundation.

The evening will begin with a 6:00 p.m. reception followed by a dinner and awards ceremony at 7:00 p.m.  Both events will take place in the Marion Bowman Activities Center.  The dinner will be provided by the Macaroni Grill of New Tampa.  Tickets are priced at $50 and seating is limited.

For more information on Saint Leo University’s celebration of the 25th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, or to purchase tickets, please contact Saint Leo Associate Athletic Director John Semeraro at (352) 588-8223 or via email at john.semeraro@saintleo.edu.

For more information about Annika Sorenstam, please visit her website at www.annikasorenstam.com.

For more about The First Tee, visit the World Golf Foundation's website at www.thefirsttee.com.

Click here to view the evening's invitation and response card.