Women In Action Winter Tribe Women in Action Newsletter

Hello Tribe Women!

We have so much to celebrate in this “Year of the Woman.” In September, W&M hosted approximately 470 alumnae and friends who attended the “Women’s Weekend” - the signature event for our yearlong commemoration of 100 Years of Women at William & Mary. As a member of the Steering Committee for the 100th, I must share how impressed and proud I was of the creative planning and programming that the sub-committees produced. But wait! There’s more! We have combined calendars with the Society of 1918, the Women’s Stock Pitch Competition and the Celebration of Women’s Athletics to give you even more reasons to visit the ‘Burg March 29-30, 2019. Save the dates and stay tuned for more information!

Our fall highlights included an historic groundbreaking ceremony for the Tribe Field Hockey Center on Busch Field. Known previously by its working name “The Century Project,” this facility will benefit not only Field Hockey, but also Lacrosse and Rec Sports participants who utilize the adjacent fields. It is our first building funded primarily by women, FOR women! We are so grateful to our donors who made this possible! The anticipated completion date for construction is Fall 2019, just in time for the 100th year of field hockey at W&M!

We also celebrated two thrilling CAA Championships this fall. Women’s Cross Country recaptured its title with a gutsy two-point margin of victory over Elon! And Field Hockey persevered to break Delaware’s streak of five championships to earn the team’s first ever CAA title. A record eight players earned CAA honors and the Tribe set an NCAA record for overtime (OT) games (9) - including the double OT Championship game over Delaware and an OT win over Monmouth in the NCAA Opening Round. The Tribe faced eventual National Champions North Carolina in the first round game of the NCAA’s where they held them to a “respectable” 4-0 score. Congratulations to Tess Ellis who was named the CAA “Coach of Year” for the third time in her five years as head coach!

SAVE THE DATE! Join us March 30th, 2019 from 2-4 PM for the Annual Celebration of Women’s Athletics! President Rowe will give the keynote address followed by round table discussions and mock interviews with our current student-athletes.

Finally, if you are on campus in the coming months, drop by Kaplan Arena to see the “100 years of Women in Sport” exhibit curated by Swem Library. There are other exhibits in the Sadler Center (formally the UC,) the Library and locations across campus that will remain on display throughout the academic year.

We are still making herstory! JOIN US!!


Peel Hawthorne, Associate AD/SWA

Tribe Field Hockey Center

You can still make an impact on the Tribe Field Hockey Center! Remaining naming opportunities include the Coaches Room and individual lockers! Please click the link below for more details.

Women In Action

On October 16th, nearly 100 guests gathered at the 5th annual Women In Action Luncheon in Richmond that was co-hosted by Maryellen Farmer Feeley ’85 and Hylah Boyd Ballowe ’94. Our speakers presented their thoughts on, “Why William & Mary?” and included the perspectives of alumna and current Women’s Soccer Head Coach, Julie Shackford ’88, former Tribe golfer and current professional golfer, Kelly Okun ’15, and a parent of a former student athlete, McGuire Boyd. Kelly Okun also wrote a wonderful piece on how William & Mary inspired her to say “why not” when faced with decisions regarding her career, which is available below.

Why Not?

Kelly Okun

If I could take only one lesson with me into my professional golf career from my time at William & Mary, I would have to choose not being afraid to hear the word “no.” When I was in high school, I feared rejection to the point that I would avoid it by not even asking for what I wanted. No longer.
My experiences at William & Mary casted away my fears and inspired me to become a go-getter. I found myself frequently saying “Why not?” in the face of intimidating situations, and I believe I became stronger for it. This mantra gave me quite the eclectic college experience, and I would not trade it for the world. Taking Russian my fall semester of freshman year sounded like a fun way to honor my ancestry; the thought of learning an entirely new alphabet was daunting, but I asked myself, “Why not?” To this day, I still cannot believe where Russian has taken me – to the Russian House on campus for two years, to a two-month language immersion program in Vermont, and even to Russia itself with the W&M study abroad program! That one simple question took me on an adventure I will never forget and one that I hope is not over yet.
When my coach asked for SAAC representatives at the end of my first season, I thought, “Why not?” Spending three years with other student-athletes and the athletic department off the golf course created friendships and memories I never would have found had I stayed complacent. I was able to put my marketing degree to good use as the Public Relations Chair for two of those years (you can probably figure out what I asked myself when I wondered if I should even run for that position!). I had no idea that my newly-found go-getter attitude then would help my golf career now.
Turning professional after college was a dream come true. I joke that I live a retired life, golfing every day and traveling the world, but I promise there is hard work occurring behind the scenes. Aside from the physical and mental training, I run a business and try to brand myself as a smart investment to potential sponsors. Asking myself “Why not?” has allowed me to gain exposure in the golf world in ways I could never have imagined. When my swing coach told me to buy a putting aid, I instead reached out to the company, Blast Motion, on Instagram. I offered my writing services in exchange for the product because, by then, I knew that the worst they could say was, “No.” Months later, I continue to guest-write on their blog and am even part of their most recent video series! A prosperous relationship that became a precedent for more connections all because W&M taught me to not fear rejection.
My favorite time to ask “Why not?” is when doing so reconnects me with William & Mary. I was scrolling through LinkedIn one day when I noticed that the Mason School of Business was hosting an event this summer themed “Networking through Golf.” I could not help but be excited about potentially giving back to the school who gave me so much. I reached out to my former marketing professor, Professor Edmiston, and she gave me the contact information for the event coordinator. A couple months later, I was on my way to Williamsburg to teach a golf clinic and speak on a panel with two executive partners. That one email to my professor began a chain reaction, and I found myself back in Williamsburg twice more this summer. Most recently, I joined 11 other LPGA players in the Jimmy Connor Pro-Am. I loved being able to raise money for the athletic department who gave me the chance to become the golfer I am today.
While rejection is still a rampant part of any professional golfer’s career, I feel fortunate that William & Mary taught me to ask despite the potential “no.” The fact that my inquiries led me back to the Tribe in an entirely new capacity only makes me that much more thankful that my athletic department and my professors inspired me to begin taking chances all those years ago.

2019 Lord Botetourt Auction

On February 8, 2019 we will have our 30th Lord Botetourt Auction! The LBA raises significant funds for our Athletics Department and as always, we are looking for fun and unique items to be donated. The funds raised from donated items can be designated for the sport of your choice.

The presenting sponsorship this year is titled the ‘Women for West Challenge.’ We seek 30 women to donate $1,000 each in honor of beloved Millie West. All of the funds raised from this sponsorship will go directly to Women’s Athletics and each donor’s name will be listed in the program. If you would like to be a part of the presenting sponsorship or have items to donate, please contact Kelsey Brumfield at (757) 221- 1552 or kbrumfield@wm.edu.

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