Nevada to Honor Contributors to Women's Athletics Thursday





Nov. 7, 2012

RENO, Nev. - The University of Nevada athletics department will honor a group of donors and current and former staff members who have contributed to the success of Wolf Pack women's athletics at the Salute to Champions Dinner featuring Olympic gold medalist Brandi Chastain on Thursday, November 8 at the Atlantis Casino Resort.

Nevada will recognize the contributions of donors Mary Ansari, Dixie May of the Wilbur D. May Foundation, Christina Hixson of the Lied Foundation, Lynn Bremer, Kathie Dees of the Marguerite Wattis Petersen Foundation and Jeane Jones of the Nell J. Redfield Foundation as well as former University of Nevada and NCAA President Joe Crowley, former athletics administrator Angie Taylor, former Wolf Pack athletics director Chris Ault and team physician Dr. Carol Scott.

"We want to recognize these individuals who have been absolutely vital to the growth and success of women's athletics at the University of Nevada," Nevada Director of Athletics Cary Groth said. "These men and women are not the only people who have helped women's athletics grow, but they are some of the most significant decision makers in that process. The donors have given millions to our department and the university for many years, and the staff members made decisions that have made our department one of the best programs in the nation in providing opportunities for women in athletics. What is unique about this group of donors is not just that they have contributed to women's athletics, but also that they are women who have made the decisions or been part of the decisions to contribute to the success of other women."

Salute to Champions Honorees:

Mary Ansari, along with her husband, Nazir, has been the first and only major sponsor of the Salute to Champions Dinner, supporting the event and introducing the keynote speakers from 1996-2009. The Ansaris continue to support the athletics department through gifts to the scholarship fund.

Dixie May and the Wilbur D. May Foundation made the program's first million dollar gift specifically for women's athletics in 1997 and has supported scholarships both in athletics and at the university for many years. May has also sponsored foreign trips that have allowed Wolf Pack female student-athletes to have cultural experiences and contributed to the construction of the Petersen Athletic Academic Center.

Lynn Bremer gave the athletics department the gift that made the renovation of the Bremer Study Center at the Virginia Street Gym, the precursor to the Petersen Athletic Academic Center, possible. She has also contributed to the Salute to Champions Dinner and supported scholarships for the women's golf program in the past.

Christina Hixson and the Lied Foundation have contributed millions of dollars to the athletics department. Her most recent multimillion dollar gift enabled the athletics department to build the Christina M. Hixson Softball Park in 2007. The 23-acre site is also home to the field events for Wolf Pack women's track and field. Hixson has also supported the department in many other areas, including being the initial donor in establishing the athletics endowment and contributing to the purchase of Wolf Run Golf Course, capital improvements to Legacy Hall and the renovation and expansion of Mackay Stadium twice.

Kathie Dees and the Marguerite Wattis Petersen Foundation stepped forward to make the lead multi-million gift to build the Marguerite Wattis Petersen Athletic Academic Center in 2006. Her gift afforded the department the opportunity to solicit other gifts for the building, which became the first Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) accredited building on the university campus.

Jeane Jones and the Nell J. Redfield Foundation have funded scholarships for Wolf Pack women's student-athletes since 2010 and supported the university for many years. She has provided funds that have helped pay scholarships for current female student-athletes, and her contributions have allowed funds earmarked for those scholarships to supplement women's sports operating budgets.

Joe Crowley served as the president of the University of Nevada for 23 years from 1978-2001 and was the president of the NCAA from 1993-95. He helped create a culture of commitment to gender equity on campus and nationally and through his leadership in the community and the state legislature, helped the Wolf Pack add women's golf in 1997 and women's soccer in 2000 among his many achievements.

Chris Ault, Nevada's athletics director from 1986-2004, contributed to the rise of women's athletics at the University of Nevada. The Wolf Pack added three women's sports in his tenure - golf, soccer and softball - and his leadership helped Nevada become one of the best athletics departments in the country in providing opportunities to women in sports.

In 1997, then senior woman administrator Angie Taylor secured the first $1 million gift to Nevada's women's athletics program from the Wilbur May Foundation. Taylor, who played basketball at Nevada and then started her athletics career as sports information and promotions director before moving into administration, helped Nevada increase its women's athletics budget from about $700,000 to over $2 million in the 1990s.

Dr. Carol Scott has served as the team physician for Wolf Pack Athletics since 1994-95, personally ensuring that all sports received medical coverage even when it wasn't popular to provide care to women's sports. She has helped develop one of the best sports medicine programs in the country and has implemented programs and policies to benefit both male and female student-athletes, including a sports medicine fellowship and Nevada's nationally recognized pregnancy and transgender policies.

Tickets are still available for Thursday's Salute to Champions Dinner at a cost of $65 for adults and $45 for youth (18 and under). Tickets can be purchased by calling (775) 682-6965 or going online at NevadaWolfPack.com.

The evening will include no-host cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. The program will include a celebration of women's athletics at the University of Nevada and a message from Brandi Chastain, the keynote speaker. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, Nevada will also honor the past Wolf Pack women's letterwinners in attendance at the dinner.

A former member of the United States women's national soccer team, Chastain won two Women's World Cup championships, two Olympic gold medals and an Olympic silver medal among her many accomplishments. She was instrumental in forming the Women's United Soccer Association, playing from 2001-03 and leading the San Jose CyberRays to the 2001 WUSA Founder's Cup championship.

She is best known for her game-winning penalty shootout kick against China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final and her celebration afterward. The iconic image of her jersey-waving celebration was featured on the covers of TIME, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated and brought the women's team into the international spotlight.

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