Beaverton, May 19th. A special banquet honoring female athletes, like gold-medal Olympic soccer star and Oregon native Tiffeny Milbrett, was held at the Tiger Woods Center on the Nike Campus. (Milbrett is pictured with Jaimie Anderson, Jerry Nudelman and Mike Anderson, standing behind.)

The event drew 270 supporters and raised more than $60,000 for the Buckman Field Project which provides a home field for St. Mary’s Academy’s soccer and lacrosse teams. Organizers say the turnout and support for St. Mary’s Academy’s celebration of Title IX demonstrates that even though the landmark piece of legislation turns 40 this year, it’s still as important as ever. 

St. Mary's Academy Board Chair Bob Harold (center) with his wife Sue Harold and St Mary's Academy Board Member Marcy Forman

St. Mary's Academy Board Chair Bob Harold (center) with his wife Sue Harold and St Mary's Academy Board Member Marcy Forman

In addition to  gold-medal Olympic soccer star and Oregon native Tiffeny Milbrett, special guests included former Congresswoman Darlene Hooley and sportscaster Ann Schatz. 

“The event was all I had hoped for. The turnout was great, the speakers were fabulous and everyone left with a better understanding of what Title IX has done for women and the importance of continuing to do due diligence to keep it moving forward,” said Teri Mariani, event chairwoman and St. Mary’s Academy alumna. “I can’t thank our sponsors, speakers and all those in attendance enough for making it a great night of celebration for Title IX and a very deserving Tiffeny Milbrett,” Mariani said.

When Title IX was passed into law in 1972, it mandated gender equity in all educational institutions receiving federal funding. Title IX’s impact goes far beyond athletics, but the groundbreaking legislation is most often associated with providing sports opportunities for women.

Olympian, Tiffeny Milbrett

Olympian, Tiffeny Milbrett

Milbrett has called those opportunities “as natural as having air to breathe,” but St. Mary’s Academy’s 40th anniversary of Title IX celebration offered a good reminder that this wasn’t always the case. The event, which was supported in part by Nike, lauded the achievements of those who helped pass this legislation and of professional athletes such as Milbrett who have taken full advantage of it in years since.

The event also helped provide opportunities for the athletes of tomorrow by raising money for the Buckman Field Project. Prior to the completion of the two regulation-size synthetic turf fields in inner Northeast Portland last summer, St. Mary’s Academy’s soccer and lacrosse teams were nomadic and didn’t have a designated field for practices and home games. Though renovation of the field was completed in 2011, St. Mary’s Academy is still fundraising to fulfill its portion of the cost. The more than $60,000 raised at the Title IX banquet helps move the school closer to meeting its financial obligation.

“I am truly grateful to everyone who helped make our Title IX 40th anniversary celebration such a huge success. St. Mary’s Academy has a long history of athletic participation for its students, so acknowledging the significant legislation that broadened the scope of possibilities for our young women to develop in athletics beyond our four walls seems very fitting,” said Anna Maria Lopez, St. Mary’s Academy Athletic Director and alumna. “Coupled with the opportunity Buckman Field provides for our student athletes, who since we launched our soccer program 37 years ago have waited patiently for a true home field, it was such a great parallel. Knowing we had two great milestones to celebrate made the event even more relevant and moving.”

 About St. Mary’s Academy:

St. Mary’s Academy is a Catholic high school for young women located in the heart of downtown Portland that provides a challenging college-preparatory education with a focus on developing the whole person. Founded in 1859 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, St. Mary’s Academy is Oregon’s oldest continuously operating secondary school and offers a supportive learning environment to a diverse student body from more than 30 urban, suburban and rural communities in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the only school in the state to have received three Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information about St. Mary’s Academy, please visit http://www.stmaryspdx.org/