A bird’s eye view of the newly-named Billie Jean King Sports Complex at Cal State L.A. The Eagles Nest Gym (inside the Physical Education building) is pictured in the far left corner; Reeder Field is upper left; the tennis and basbetball courts are upper right; and the University Stadium and Jesse Owens Track and Field are behind La Kretz Hall to the right.
CSULA alumna and tennis champion named for sports complex
Billie Jean King Sports Complex encompasses more than 11 acres of athletic facilities
Acknowledged for her legacy as an alumna and University ambassador, and as a champion both in tennis and for student athletes, Cal State L.A.’s 11+ acres of athletic facilities were recently named the Billie Jean King Sports Complex.
The sports complex—which was approved by the CSU Board of Trustees Sept. 21—features the Eagles Nest Gymnasium, the University Stadium, Jesse Owens Track and Field, Reeder Field (baseball), the swimming pool, and tennis and basketball courts.
Pictured: (l-r) CSULA President James M. Rosser, Billie Jean King and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Herbert L. Carter.
King received word of the naming while being recognized as a dedicated champion for social justice, service, philanthropy and equality at the 13th annual Billie Jean King and Friends event on Sept. 25, where Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson was also honored with the 2010 Joe Shapiro Humanitarian Award.
“This is Cal State L.A.’s way of acknowledging Billie Jean for her outstanding personal and professional achievements, her sustained commitment to the University, and for her life-long dedication in promoting a healthier mind and body. She has consistently broadened educational access and fostered diversity with excellence, particularly at our University,” said CSULA President James M. Rosser. “The Billie Jean King and Friends event is a point of pride at Cal State L.A., not only because it generates support that helps transform student-athletes’ lives, but also because it demonstrates what is possible when heartfelt, enthusiastic people rally to support something that is truly important.”
Through her direct involvement, King has generated more than $2.2 million in scholarships with the annual event. This year, the fundraiser included a silent auction and a dinner and program to ensure the continued support of athletics on campus through the CSULA’s Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund.
Pictured: (l-r) Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, CSU Board of Trustees Chair Herbert Carter, Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, 2010 Shapiro Award recipient Rafer Johnson, CSULA President James M. Rosser, and Tennis Hall of Famer Rosie Casals.
2010 Billie Jean King Scholarship recipients (l-r) Zuzana Cizova, Jillian Sangria and Liz Franco pictured with Rafer Johnson and Billie Jean King.
“I’m thrilled and humbled [by the naming]. My years at Cal State L.A. were a big part of my life and my career. I went to school there, I played sports there and in part, many of my values were founded there. Those formative years were a major stepping stone for me,” said King. “I share this honor with every student who has ever come through the doors of the school and every athlete who has trained and competed on these fields and courts. Just as my coaches, Scotty Deeds and Dr. Joan Johnson, inspired me, I hope this recognition inspires others and brings some well-deserved visibility to this wonderful University.”
King—who attended Cal State L.A. from 1961 to 1964—was named to Cal State L.A.’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the California State University system at the University’s Commencement ceremony in 1997. In August 2009, President Barack Obama presented her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the United States government bestows upon a civilian.
A two-time Olympian and the 1960 gold medalist in the decathlon, Johnson was presented this year’s Shapiro Award for improving the lives of many afflicted with disabilities. He was one of the founding members of the Special Olympics in Southern California and has been active in that organization for more than 40 years. The Rafer Johnson Children’s Center in Bakersfield was named in Johnson’s honor and provides classes for special education students from the ages of birth through five years.
Here’s a thank you letter to Cal State L.A. from Billie Jean King: http://www.calstatela.edu/univ/ppa/newsrel/BJK-letter2010.pdf.
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