Lourdes Hospital and Binghamton University Athletics Team Up Once Again to Present the 4th Annual Celebrating Women's Athletics Luncheon
BINGHAMTON, NY -- 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
About Jessica Mendoza:
Almost every Olympic Games, no matter what sport and which athlete, feels like it could potentially be the last opportunity for the unique honor and acclaim bestowed by an Olympic medal. After the International Olympic Committee elected to remove softball from the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, that sentiment especially rang true for Jessica Mendoza and the U.S. National Women’s Softball Team. Fortunately, Mendoza and the U.S. softball team can look back in pride at what might be their last Olympic appearance—they won silver at this year’s Olympic Games in Beijing and joined their fellow Olympians from Japan and Australia in laying softballs in the shape of “2016” on the field making a statement for softball to be brought back to the 2016 Olympic Games.
The journey to the 2008 Olympic Games began for Mendoza in September 2007 when she was officially named to the Olympic roster for 2008. Immediate Olympic preparation began in February on the team’s 60-game KFC Bound 4 Beijing U.S. Tour. Throughout this pre-Olympic tour Mendoza had an unbelievable batting average of .495, with 102 hits, 107 runs batted in and 21 home runs. During the tour, the team played in more than 45 cities, for crowds of 200,000-plus people, setting a new tour record.
Playing on the prestigious U.S. team, Mendoza was selected to bat third. As Olympic coach Mike Candrea emphasized, “To hit third in our order is quite an honor. She (Mendoza) has the quickest hands of anyone I’ve seen. She’s stronger, she’s gotten quicker, and she’s gotten smarter.” Mendoza used her strength, speed and knowledge to help lead her team to the silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games with batting an average of .333 in 24 at bats, including four home runs. In the overall Olympic statistics she was in a three-way tie for first in stolen bases, ranked second in runs and third in runs batted in.
Mendoza won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and adds to her softball experience with her participation on the ProFastpitch X-Treme Tour. She not only proves to be a dynamic player on the field but also brings eagerness and energy to her involvement in the sport off of the field. Mendoza is the president-elect of the Women’s Sports Foundation and currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees (elected 2005). She serves on the Finance and Legal Committee and the Athlete Relations Committee and is featured in the Women’s Sports Foundation’s GoGirlGo! educational curriculum used to impact the lives of young girls all over the United States. She was an ESPN commentator for the 2007 and 2008 Women’s College World Series. Mendoza has 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. She has raised $15,000 for children in Africa by joining on as an ambassador for Right to Play during the Olympic Games in Beijing. Also, in January, she was chosen as one of five Olympians to participate in the U.S. Army’s Goodwill Tour of Afghanistan.
During her senior year at Stanford, Jessica was one of the top 25 selections for the 2002 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and also was the Speedline Invitational championship's Most Valuable Player. In May of 2002, Mendoza was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association/Louisville Slugger All-American for the fourth time at the Women's College World Series banquet. In her final season, she was one of three Stanford seniors named to the 2002 Division I All-Pacific Region squad. She garnered first-team All-Pac-10 accolades for four years straight and led the Cardinals team to its first Women's College World Series appearance in her junior year.
During her sophomore season, Mendoza was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, making her the first Stanford athlete to achieve this feat. As a freshman, she was named the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. That season she shattered the school's single-season records for home runs, batting average, hits and doubles. Mendoza graduated from Stanford in the spring of 2002 with a degree in American studies and a master's degree in social sciences in education.