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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

Dec. 15, 2005

UI Alumna Makes Gift For UI's Rowing Program In Christine Grant's Honor

Barbara N. Chesler of Branford, Conn., has pledged $50,000 to the University of Iowa Foundation to establish an endowment benefiting the University of Iowa rowing team.

The Dr. Christine H.B. Grant Rowing Shell Endowment will help pay for equipment replacement costs and name a rowing shell in honor of Grant, the director of UI women's intercollegiate athletics from 1973 to 1999. When shells, as rowing boats are called, are replaced over time, the endowment will ensure that there is always a shell named for Grant.

Mandi Kowal, head coach of the UI rowing team, said Chesler's gift will inspire rowers as well as bring added stability to the program.

"Christine Grant has done so much for women's athletics at Iowa and around the nation. Having a shell named for her will keep Dr. Grant's influence alive and inspire the women on our team to seize the opportunities that she helped create for them," Kowal said. "We are extremely grateful to Barbara Chesler for providing us with some crucial financial security for our program."

Chesler, a senior associate athletic director at Yale University who received a master's degree in physical education from the UI in 1985, said she was motivated to make the gift by her deep respect for Grant.

"Christine is a legendary leader in the world of women's collegiate athletics. She has served as a mentor to hundreds of women," Chesler said, "and I have come to recognize over the years that her leadership helped pave the way for my professional career. I am proud to honor Dr. Grant by endowing a shell in her name at Iowa."

Grant, of North Liberty, Iowa, helped draft Title IX, the landmark 1972 Congressional legislation requiring equal athletic opportunity for girls and women in public schools at all levels. During her tenure as UI director of women's athletics, Grant expanded the women's program to include 12 NCAA-level sports and supported UI women's athletics in winning or sharing 27 Big Ten Conference titles. She served as president of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators and was co-founder and president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. An inductee of the Hall of Fame of the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, she has won many awards, including the Women's Sports Foundation Billie Jean King Contribution Award and the Lou Henry Hoover Award for contributions to women's sports in Iowa.

Grant, who earned a bachelor's degree from the UI in 1970 and a doctorate from the UI in 1974, is currently an associate professor in the Department of Health and Sport Studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Chesler gift is part of the UI's $1 billion comprehensive campaign, which will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation.  Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the seven-year effort is raising private funds to help launch a variety of initiatives across the university, substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university.  For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, visit its Web site at


STORY SOURCE: UI Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

CONTACTS: Media: Jana Michael, Director of Development for Athletics; 319-335-3305;; Writer: Nic Arp.

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: Photos for this story are available for downloading