In 1895, the first Women's Amateur Golf Championship in the United States drew 13 competitors. This year, more than 140 players are competing on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour, with 144 women participating in the 30th anniversary Wegmans LPGA in Rochester this month.
One of those current players, along with three earlier stars of women's golf, will take part in "A Conversation with Champions: Women, Sports & the LPGA," a special luncheon and panel program scheduled during the tournament. The event celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Wegmans LPGA and is part of the yearlong initiative "100 Years Since Susan B. . . . Consider the Anthony Legacy" sponsored by the University of Rochester's Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership.
The event, from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21, will be held in the Champions Pavilion at Locust Hill Country Club. Sponsorship support for "A Conversation with Champions" is provided by the Good Home Company.
The program also includes the presentations of the Susan B. Anthony Legacy Award to the national LPGA and the Susan B. Anthony Promise Award to Buffalo-area businesswoman and artist Heather Harris.
Panelists for "A Conversation with Champions" are Paula Creamer, the 2005 LPGA Rookie of the Year and player in this year's Wegmans LPGA; Heather Daly-Donofrio, an LPGA Tour veteran and current president of the LPGA's Players Council; Alice Miller, LPGA rookie of the year in 1978 and executive director of the McDonald's LPGA; and Betsy Rawls, a member of the LPGA's Hall of Fame, who won the Texas Amateur in 1949 and went on to amass a total of 55 career victories. Moderator is former Sports Illustrated senior editor Myra Gelband. After earning her bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester in 1971, Gelband joined the staff of Sports Illustrated and covered golf, track and field, football, hockey, and the Olympics. Audience members will be able to ask questions of the participants as part of the panel discussion.
The presentation of the Susan B. Anthony Legacy award to the LPGA marks the first time the honor will be presented to an organization. The award recognizes work and achievements that reflect the suffragist's commitment to equality between men and women. The award will be accepted by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens, the first female commissioner in the organization's history.
"The LPGA is a trailblazing organization that has promoted women's professional development in sports for more than 50 years," said Nora Bredes, director of the Anthony Center for Women's Leadership. "Through its programs, the association has helped increase recognition and opportunities for all women athletes."
Established in 1950, the LPGA is the longest-running independent women's sports organization in the world. The association sponsors a professional tour and a variety of programs to advance women's and youth golf, including entrepreneurial and business skills training programs for golf professionals, scholarship and assistance programs, and educational activities. Since 1991, the LPGA has sponsored the Golf Clinics for Women program, designed to introduce businesswomen to the game and show how business discussions and decisions are made on golf courses.
Harris is the first recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Promise Award, which honors a woman whose career, leadership, and energy promote Anthony's dream of equality. Harris received her MBA in finance and economics at the University of Rochester's William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration. She worked as a marketing professional for 15 years, developing and selling consumer products for Rich Products Corp., Bausch & Lomb Inc., and Fisher-Price. Since 2004, she has been president of redFISH Art Studios & Gallery in East Aurora, a venue she co-founded to provide artists with studio and exhibition space and to offer art classes for youth and adults. The Anthony Promise Award is sponsored by the Anthony Center and the Simon School.
"Heather's accomplishments in both the business and cultural worlds are an example of how far women have come since Susan B. Anthony campaigned for women's rights," said Holli Budd, associate dean for MBA Administration at the Simon School. "Her work is inspiring to other women and reflects Anthony's dream of what women can achieve when given the opportunity."
Tickets for the June 21 event are $50 and include admission to the tournament that day, which is Pro-Am Day. Tables of eight also can be purchased for $1,000 and include a weeklong pass for each of the guests to the Wegmans LPGA Tournament, which begins June 19. For reservations and more information, contact the Wegmans LPGA at (585) 427-7100 or the Anthony Center at (585) 275-8700. Proceeds benefit the Disabled Children of Monroe County's two camps, Camp Haccamo and the Sunshine Campus.
The yearlong initiative "100 Years Since Susan B. . . . Consider the Anthony Legacy" includes events and programs celebrating women's achievements since the suffragist died in 1906 while looking at remaining barriers to women's progress.