Aug. 21, 2008
CARBONDALE, Ill. - For over five decades, Southern Illinois University has enjoyed a rich history of participation by women athletes. This spring, the Saluki athletic department will honor its proud heritage by providing letter awards to female athletes who competed at SIU prior to 1980.
The Saluki Athletics Department is thrilled to invite these former female student-athletes of Southern Illinois back to campus for a Celebration of Women's Athletics.
"I think it's long overdue," former Southern Illinois Women's Athletic Director Charlotte West said. "Most Division I schools have honored their early female athletes and I'm thrilled that we will soon do the same."
This project is the work of a very dedicated committee including such notables as Dr. Charlotte West, Dr. Julee Illner, Dr. Kay Brechtelsbauer, Judy Auld, Claudia Blackman and Sarah Haas. The committee identified individuals who represented SIU in competition against other schools prior to and including 1980. These names were gathered from athletics department records, Daily Egyptian archives, Obelisks from the time period and "Echo" newsletters from the old Department of Physical Education. In all, over 750 names were included in mailings sent out this summer to gauge interest.
"Athletes that I have visited with so far are excited about coming back to campus," West added. "They are looking forward to reconnecting with other athletes they played with and being honored for their time here."
The committee also sent questionnaires to coaches from that time period to invite them back as well. The response so far has been enthusiastic. The plan is to schedule events in conjunction with a home men's and women's basketball weekend this spring semester. There will be a banquet for honorees as well as introductions at the men's and women's basketball games. The dates will be set once the Missouri Valley Conference releases the men's and women's basketball schedules and the committee can identify a weekend that will work.
Saluki Athletics asks all female student-athletes and coaches during this era to contact the department by filling out the pdf document at the Celebate Women's Athletics website and either mailing or emailing it back to Associate Director of Athletics/SWA Kathy Jones.
In addition to this summer's mailings, we have created a web page on the Saluki Athletics website where more information will be posted on the celebration. The webpage contains copies of the questionnaires, a photo gallery, and will be updated with information on celebration activities as we move forward. The website address is: http://siusalukis.cstv.com/ot/CelebrateWomensAthletics.html.
"We're honored to be able to bring these women back to campus after all these years to celebrate their contributions as student-athletes representing Southern Illinois University," Associate Athletic Director Kathy Jones said. "We want to make sure everyone is included, so we ask those former athletes we haven't been able to reach to contact us or let us know if they know someone we might have missed. We are anxious to hear from even those who can't attend the event, just to reconnect with our alumni."
We hope you can join us for this memorable day as we honor yesterday, celebrate today and build for tomorrow's female student-athletes of Southern Illinois!
For questions or for additional information, please contact Kathy Jones in the Southern Illinois Athletics Department at (618) 453-5279 or email@example.com.