Zips Athletics Honors Past And Present At Title IX Celebration

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Photo Gallery (Ernie Aranyosi)

AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron Department of Athletics celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX with a special reception on the FirstMerit Foundation Club Level at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field Saturday.

The hour-long event, which was attended by more than 200 current and former Zips female student-athletes, fans and family members, paid tribute to the school's long and storied history of women's sports that dates back more than 100 years.

After a brief welcome from Zips Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill, UA Vice President/Chief of Staff Candace Campbell Jackson, head women's basketball coach Jodi Kest, and two of the school's three individual national champions Jenna Compton (rifle) and Christi Smith (track & field) each shared stories of how their lives have been impacted by the groundbreaking legislation that was passed into law on June 23, 1972.

Multiple Emmy award-winning broadcaster and author, Connie Dieken served as the event's emcee.

The celebration also served as an opportunity for UA's current female student-athletes to meet some of the greatest women in Zips' history as many of the school's top-40 honorees – as well as members of the top-10 – were in attendance. 

The Zips' history of female athletics dates back to 1889 with the formation of the first tennis club and is highlighted by a number of historic moments. Evelyn Hooker, who played on the men's golf team, became the first UA female to earn a varsity letter in 1942, and Jean Linton not only became the school's first female four-year letterwinner in rifle, but also became Akron's first female athlete to garner All-American honors, not once, but twice in 1961 and 1962.

In all, more than 1,300 female student-athletes have earned at least one letter at The University of Akron while 13 teams have captured Mid-American Conference Championships. Additionally, rifle – which is a co-ed sport – has won 12 league championships in its two disciplines during the last decade.

Akron currently sponsors 11 Division I female sports – including basketball, cross country, golf, rifle, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball – and more than 180 female student-athletes.