Title IX women’s varsity champion Dr Christine Grant dies at 85

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Dr Christine Grant – who shaped, defined, championed and championed Title IX and women’s college athletics for nearly 50 years as a trustee – died on Friday aged 85, Iowa confirmed.

A founding member of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, Grant served as its president. She then became president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators. But she was best known as a pioneer and defender of Title IX, a federal law that requires equal opportunities for men and women participating in federally funded educational programs or activities.

Grant has testified several times before the United States House of Representatives on Title IX and gender equity. She has provided expert testimony on Title IX in litigation and trials. Grant has also served as an expert consultant to the Title IX Working Group of the Office of Civil Rights Health, Education and Welfare.

“The law is all about fairness,” Grant said on an NCAA 40th anniversary title IX video in 2012. “That’s all it is about.

“Looking back, Title IX is, in my opinion, the most important federal law that was passed in the 20th century for women in this country. I cannot stress this enough.

Grant became the first director of women’s athletics at the University of Iowa in 1973. She fought to elevate 11 sports to university status in 1974 and succeeded in increasing the women’s athletic budget by $ 3,000. in 1973 to $ 6.9 million in 2000.

In 2007, Grant received the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award, which honors an advocate for varsity athletics. That same year, Grant was named one of America’s 100 Most Influential Sports Educators by the Institute of International Sport. She also received the Billie Jean King Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 1994, the Iowa field hockey stadium was renamed “Grant Field”.

Grant was inducted into the IU Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2006.

What she meant for Iowa

Scott Dochterman, Iowa Beat Writer: Under Grant’s leadership, the Iowa Women’s Track and Field Department became the national model, excelling both in competition and in the classroom.

With Grant in place, C. Vivian Stringer led the Hawkeyes’ women’s basketball team to a Final Four. Gayle Blevins has coached the softball team in the Women’s World University Series on four occasions. A women’s basketball game drew over 22,000 fans at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in 1984. Grant’s favorite sport – field hockey – won the title in 1986 and has contested the championships every year. . The program was ranked # 1 this fall.

Her influence was so strong in the Iowa City area that an elementary school was named in her name in 2019. Grant’s last hire in Iowa was Lisa Bluder, whose 419 wins are the most important to a female basketball coach in Big Ten history.

What others are saying about Grant

Lisa Bluder: “I owe Dr. Grant so much. She hired me to train in this university that I love so much. Most importantly, it has provided the opportunity for thousands upon thousands of girls to enjoy and benefit from participating in athletics. Without Dr. Grant’s commitment and efforts for gender equality, girls and women could not experience the benefits of sport as we know it today.

“Dr. Grant taught me to think differently. I can hear her words of wisdom bouncing in my mind now and forever. I love Dr. Grant. She has told me to call her Christine on several occasions, but out of respect she will always be Dr Grant, the woman who helped change the landscape of women’s athletics.

Former NCAA President Myles Brand said at Grant’s 2007 Ford Award: “Christine is a preeminent and passionate leader who represents a whole class of pioneers who broke barriers to the sport. feminine. She and others have done the heavy lifting that has provided female varsity athletes with the opportunities they enjoy today, and her courage and character have made her a role model for student-athletes and athletic administrators alike. ‘today.

Iowa women’s tennis coach and former player Sasha Schmid: “My life, like that of all women in the United States, has been positively and dramatically influenced by Dr. Christine Grant. I am in awe of the scope of Dr. Grant’s meaningful life. Her tireless efforts to fight for gender equality and sporting opportunities for women have changed the landscape of our country for the better.

“Beyond her work for women’s equality at the national level, she took a personal interest in every student athlete at the University of Iowa. She hired the University of Iowa women’s tennis coaches who mentored me and became my role models for life. She wrote my letter of recommendation for summer internships, and she advised and encouraged me to attend law school.

“My gratitude for Dr Grant is immeasurable. The ripple effect of his life’s work will be felt in every generation starting today. She is a true giant and a Hawkeye heroine. What an incredible life.

(Photo provided by Hawkeyesports.com)



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