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BU holds ninth annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon

February 3, 2014

BU holds ninth annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon

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Contact: David O’Brian (dobrian@binghamton.edu)

VESTAL, N.Y. – Olympic gold medalist and world champion softball pitcher Jennie Finch was the featured speaker at the Ninth Annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon on Monday afternoon at the Events Center. The event, which had over 500 attendees, was geared towards raising support for the Binghamton Women’s Scholarship Fund.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Finch was a starting pitcher on the United States squad that captured the gold medal. Four years later in Beijing, she was a member of the American team that earned the silver medal. Since 2011, she has worked as a color analyst on ESPN.

During her undergraduate career at Arizona, Finch was a three-time, first-team NFCA All-American (2000-02) and was named the Honda Sports Award Winner twice (2001 and 2002). On the mound, she shattered the NCAA record with 60 consecutive wins and led the Wildcats to the 2001 College World Series title.

On Monday at the Events Center, Finch spoke about the role athletics has played in her life. In the process, she has been able to be a part of the overall growth of women’s athletics through the years.

“It’s amazing to see how far we have come as women and because of 1972 (when Title IX was enacted), we have a chance to live out our dreams, further our education, further society and inspire others to be better,” she said. “I want to thank (Binghamton) for the support they have given women’s athletics and it’s great to see women coming out of the Bearcat program and inspiring others.”

Senior volleyball standout Grace Vickers was this year’s student speaker. She touched on many of the same topics as Finch and credited Binghamton for helping her grow both on and off the court.

“I stand here as a product of Title IX and coming to Binghamton was the best decision I ever made,” she said. “The volleyball program has helped shape me into the person that I am today. When I graduate in May, I plan to pursue a career in intercollegiate administration. Everyone around me, especially at Binghamton, has encouraged me to stay where my passion lies in college athletics. I hope to inspire younger women to pursue their goals without hesitation.”

Earlier in the day, Finch met with the Binghamton softball team in the TAU Club Room of the Events Center. She answered numerous questions and shared many of her athletic and personal experiences.

“It was a great experience for our team to meet Jennie Finch,” head coach Michelle Burrell said. “It’s really great to hear her perspective not only on our sport, but where our sport is going and what she has taken away from being in softball.”

Finch is the latest of an impressive group of guest speakers who have come to Binghamton for the Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon. She is preceded by Shannon Miller (2013), Amanda Beard (2012), Julie Foudy (2011), Kara Lawson (2010) and Jessica Mendoza (2009).

Since 2006, the Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon has raised almost $150,000 to support the BBAA Women’s Scholarship Fund.  The scholarship was established in 2007, and is awarded annually to two female student-athletes. The luncheon began in 2006, with just 75 attendees, and today is one of the Athletics Department’s primary fundraisers.

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