BILLIE JEAN KING RETURNS TO CAL STATE L.A. SEPTEMBER 30 TO SERVE STUDENTS

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.R12;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 award 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 www.calstatela.edu/univ/athletic.


 

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