For Immediate Release: November 21, 2008
Contact: Ryan Yarosh (
Phone: 607-777-2174

4th Annual "Celebrating Women in Sports Athletics Luncheon" to be held Feb. 2
Olympic Gold Medal Winning Softball Star Jessica Mendoza to be featured speaker

VESTAL, N.Y.--Lourdes Hospital and Binghamton University Athletics will host the 4th Annual Lourdes/ Bearcats Celebrating Women's Athletics Luncheon at noon on Monday, February 2, 2009, at the Binghamton University Events Center.

Held each year to recognize the achievements of Binghamton University's female student-athletes, the luncheon also raises awareness of the benefits of collegiate athletic competition.

“As a former athlete, I am very committed to supporting women’s sports,” said Binghamton University President Lois B. DeFleur. “Studies demonstrate a definite link between women’s athletic participation and leadership qualities. Young women learn focus and discipline as well as the important balance between cooperation and competition, which all contribute to their future success. But perhaps most important is that athletics encourages girls and women to be risk takers. And taking risks is an important part of developing our full potential-- and a crucial characteristic of good leadership.”

"Lourdes is proud to join Binghamton University again this year in its commitment to our area's female athletes,” said John D. O'Neil, president and CEO of Lourdes Hospital. “We share the University's mission to nurture the mind, body and spirit of young women and are pleased to be a part of this event.”

The event, which attracted 300 campus and community leaders and supporters last year, raised over $20,000 to support the BUAC Women's Scholarship Fund. The scholarship was established in 2007 and is awarded annually to a deserving female student-athlete. The luncheon began in 2006 with just 75 attendees, and is today one of the athletics department's primary fundraisers.

Binghamton University Athletic Club President Patty Bloomer said,” Binghamton University is an outstanding center of higher learning and the Binghamton University Athletic Club has long supported our student athletes. For the past several years, the Women’s Committee of the BUAC has been particularly proud to present our “Celebrating Women’s Athletics Luncheon” to raise money to pay for scholarships for our female student athletes. It is my pleasure to urge you to attend this lively occasion which features great food, great speakers and a fine opportunity for you to continue to provide for scholarships for our first-rate female athletes.”

This year, Olympian and president-elect of the Women’s Sports Foundation, Jessica Mendoza, will be the guest speaker at the luncheon. Mendoza is an All-American softball player who won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She was a four-time first team All-American at Stanford University from 1999-2002 and was named Softball player of the year in 2006. Mendoza was an ESPN commentator for the 2007 and 2008 Women’s College World Series and also represented the United States as an Athlete Ambassador for Team Darfur, helping to create awareness for the ongoing crisis in this region of Sudan.

“I am thrilled to come to Binghamton University to not only share, but celebrate the importance of female athletics,” says Mendoza.

Luncheon attendees will have the opportunity to meet current Bearcats student-athletes and coaches from the women's teams, hear current and former Binghamton University student-athletes speak about the role athletics has played in their development, careers and life, and bid on terrific auction items.

The luncheon, which is open to the public, is held each February as part of a series of national celebratory events surrounding National Girls and Women in Sports Day. National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) began in 1986 as a day to honor the achievements of all female athletes and recognize the positive influence of sports participation. Tickets are $35. Contact Linda Reynolds at 607-777-4558 for more information.

For sponsorship information, contact Bette Anne Gaube at 607- 777-2093 or Michael Kalinich at 607- 777-4211

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