Note to editors and news directors: To arrange interviews with Billie Jean King in advance, or to get further perspective on King’s legacy at Cal State L.A. and beyond, contact Director of Athletics Dan Bridges, (323) 343-3083, firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional background resources are listed below.
BILLIE JEAN KING’S SERVICE
TO CAL STATE L.A. STUDENTS
Scholarships win at annual clinic, pro-am,
auction with tennis great, friends
Los Angeles, CA – Tennis legend Billie Jean King will return to California State University, Los Angeles, Saturday, Sept. 30, to demonstrate that—whether it’s tennis, fighting for equality or supporting student-athletes’ success at her alma mater—she serves with vigor and passion.
For the ninth straight year, Cal State L.A. will host “Billie Jean King and Friends Presenting the Joe Shapiro Award.” The day’s events include a morning tennis clinic and pro-am tournament on campus, lunch at the University Club, and a tribute dinner and auction at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.
Joining King to provide participants one-to-one lessons and exciting pro-am doubles competition on the courts will be a dozen other tennis professionals, including Hall of Fame players Rosie Casals and Pam Shriver.
At the evening gathering, best-selling author Patricia Cornwell will receive the 2006 Joe Shapiro Award. Named in memory of Shriver’s late husband, who worked extensively with King to support student-athletes, the award honors individuals for exemplary humanitarianism, leadership and vision. Cornwell's most recent No. 1 bestsellers include “At Risk,” “Predator,” “Trace” and “Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper -- Case Closed.” Past recipients of the Joe Shapiro Award include Jane and Sidney Harman, John and Diane Cooke, Billie Jean King, Maxine Waters, Sally K. Ride and, last year, Chris Evert.
“Billie Jean King is a remarkable person,” said Cal State L.A. Athletic Director Dan Bridges. “Besides her tremendous tennis accomplishments, she has been a highly influential advocate for social change and a true inspiration to thousands of people throughout the world. We’re extremely proud and fortunate to list her among our alumni.“
King attended and played tennis at Cal State L.A. from 1961 to 1964. She arrived on campus fresh with the 1961 Wimbledon doubles title. She repeated the feat in 1962 as an undergraduate. In her career, she won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 20 at Wimbledon and 13 at the U.S. Open.
On Aug. 28, the National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.—the site of the U.S. Open—was named in honor of King at the tournament’s opening ceremony.
In 1973, she founded the Women’s Tennis Association and, a year later, founded the Women’s Sports Foundation.
A member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame, in 1998, King became the first athlete to receive the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, given by Hobart and William Smith College to a woman whose life exemplifies outstanding service to humanity. A year later, she received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for her fight to bring equality to women's sports.
She also serves as a director on the boards of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
King was named to Cal State L.A.’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1997, she was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University’s Commencement ceremony; and each year Cal State L.A. bestows an award named for her to one of its top student-athletes.
Since the first “Billie Jean King and Friends” event was held in 1998, more than $1.2 million has been raised to provide scholarships to student-athletes in 11 sports at Cal State L.A., and two endowed scholarships have been created.
According to Bridges, “This effort has helped hundreds of young men and women earn college degrees while pursuing their competitive dreams of playing college sports. Without the generous support of Billie Jean and those who contribute to this event, the Cal State L.A. Athletics Program would not come close to realizing the levels of academic and competitive success it currently enjoys.”
The event’s seven levels of participation range from $250 per person for an individual dinner ticket to $15,000 to become a Grand Slam Partner for the event. Packages that include participation in the morning clinic and pro-am tournament begin at $1,000. Corporate sponsorships are also available. For registration details, call 323-343-3080 or follow the link at http://www.calstatela.edu/univ/athletic.
Additional contacts and resources:
Billie Jean King and Friends, Presenting The Joe Shapiro Award
Billie Jean King Ranked No. 12 Amongst NCAA’s 100 Most Influential Student-Athletes of the Last Century
Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 190,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, to be housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center now under construction. www.calstatela.edu
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