The Jody Conradt Endowed Excellence Fund has been established at The University of Texas of Austin to inspire and instruct students on the importance of leadership and equity and to promote faculty research in that area.
Named for the university's legendary women's basketball coach, the endowment will be held by the College of Liberal Arts on behalf of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies (CWGS), a university-wide, interdisciplinary research and teaching program.
"Understanding the challenges and opportunities that motivate young women to compete and succeed in every field requires both academic research and the presence of strong role models as examples for our students," said CWGS Director Susan Sage Heinzelman. "No one represents women's potential for excellence and leadership better than former coach Jody Conradt."
"It is both gratifying and humbling to be associated with this Excellence Fund, which will advance, enrich and educate women students," said Conradt. "One of the most rewarding aspects of coaching and athletics administration was witnessing the maturation, confidence-building and empowerment of undergraduate women. Developing leaders is central to our university mission. The academic programs offered by the College of Liberal Arts and the Center for Women and Gender Studies prepare young women for such roles."
Initially, the endowment will support the Texas Undergraduate Leadership Program (TULIP) at CWGS. The program provides stipends, mentoring, workshops and community service opportunities to 10 women from each undergraduate class. The students must come from groups that are underrepresented on campus or study disciplines in which women are underrepresented.
"This may be the first time that an academic endowment at the university has been created to honor a university women's athletics coach," said College of Liberal Arts Dean Randy L. Diehl. "What better way to recognize the pivotal role Coach Conradt has played in creating opportunity for and demanding excellence from women, both on and off the court?"
In her 31-year career as head coach of the women's basketball team, Conradt sought change on the court and off. In addition to coaching national championship teams, she also helped hundreds of young women excel as players, students and future leaders.
President William Powers Jr. has described Conradt as "a pioneer in women's college basketball, and thereby in progress toward equality for young women."
CWGS has more than 275 faculty affiliates in schools and colleges across the campus. It offers several degree programs and has hundreds of students who participate in those programs. Like Conradt, the center is dedicated to closing the leadership gap through a variety of initiatives like the CWGS Faculty Development Program, TULIP and the Ann Richards School Partnership Program.
For more information on how you can help honor this legacy through your contribution to the Jody Conradt Excellence Fund in Equity and Leadership, call CWGS at 512-471-5765.