Generations of female student-athletes will benefit from a groundbreaking new endowment fund made possible by the generosity of the estate of Peggy Patrick ’51.
Patrick, an economics major who went on to success at General Electric, was a varsity athlete in both field hockey and basketball while at Roanoke College. She played for legendary coach Fran Ramser and was teammates with a future coaching legend, Billie “Jean” Beamer ’52.
The chance to compete in college athletics had an impact on Patrick’s life that she never forgot. In 2022, when the nation was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, she was moved to pledge a gift to help ensure those opportunities for future students.
The Roanoke College Women’s Athletic Endowment will support Roanoke’s 10 NCAA varsity, female athletic programs by generating an annual source for funding for uniforms, travel, equipment and more. Such endowments are rare across NCAA Division III athletics.
The fund was the first created for the benefit of all NCAA women’s athletics at Roanoke. It’s taking effect this year following Patrick’s passing on April 25, 2023.
“We’re forever grateful to Peggy Patrick for her donation to the College and what it will mean to our Maroons,” said Head Women’s Basketball Coach Carla Flaherty. “Her generosity will enhance opportunities for all female athletes here at Roanoke College.”
The endowment fund will continue accepting new donations, and it was Patrick’s hope to be part of a rising tide of philanthropy in support of women athletes. Her estate’s gift of $750,000 is projected to generate about $37,500 annually in initial endowment revenue.
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“Peggy has set a remarkable example that will uplift and encourage other women athletes here at Roanoke College,” said Vice President of Advancement Kim Blair. “Her gift will have great meaning for current and future Maroons. We are so thankful to her and the legacy she’s created.”
It is particularly meaningful to see alumnae reaching out to support and mentor current students, Flaherty added. Patrick’s unprecedented gift speaks to the powerful role that athletics and teamwork can play in a student's life.
"This wonderful gift is a perfect example of the type of connection and belonging that you can have to a place and its people because of athletics,” Flaherty said. "Something I always talk about with new students is that attending a college like Roanoke is fantastic; you’re going to get a great education. But being part of a sport can enhance that. The experiences and battles you go through as a team fortify connections that will last a lifetime. That’s what sports are to me.”
The Roanoke College Women’s Athletic Endowment will enhance opportunities for women’s athletics above and beyond the annual operating budgets for those programs. To contribute to the fund, visit roanoke.edu/patrickchallenge or contact Jack Williams at 540-375-2484 or email@example.com.