Donate Now!

The Women’s Sports Foundation Releases 40 FOR 40 Honorees to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX

40 Women Who Have Made a Significant Impact on Society After Playing High School or College Sports

’40 FOR 40′ Event Hosted by WICT, espnW and WSF Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC

New York, NY (May 17, 2012) – The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF), in collaboration with espnW and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), today released its 40 FOR 40 list of forty women who made a significant impact on society after playing sports in high school or college during the forty years since the enactment of Title IX in 1972. The honorees will be recognized as part of a 40 FOR 40 event on June 21 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC. The supporting sponsor of the event is Scripps Networks Interactive.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires schools and colleges receiving federal money in any education program or activity to provide the same opportunities for girls as they provide for boys. According to WSF, Title IX has resulted in growth of girls participating in high school sports from 1 in 27 in 1972 to about 2 in 5 today. Title IX has not only made its impact felt in terms of athletic participation, but in educational opportunities for girls and women. According to several studies, the combination of the two has produced significant long-term educational, health and economic benefits for women.

The 40 FOR 40 list is comprised of honorees in a wide range of fields of accomplishment including Science – Technology – Engineering – Math (STEM), Sports, Business, Medicine, Law, Arts and Entertainment, among other fields. They include: Christine Brennan (Journalism/Media); Ann Cody (Nonprofit); General Ann Dunwoody (Military); Tina Fey (Arts and Entertainment); Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (Government/Civil Service); Ellen Kullman (Business and STEM); Queen Latifah (Arts and Entertainment); Dr. Condoleezza Rice (Government/Civil Service and Academia); Dr. Dot Richardson (Medicine); Sally Ride (STEM); Robin Roberts (Journalism/Media); Irene Rosenfeld (Business) and Meg Whitman (Business). Below, please find a full list of honorees.

“We are proud to recognize these women and the positive role that the passage of Title IX has played in the lives of countless women and girls,” said Kathryn Olson, Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King. “Each has used participation in sports as a step toward making a very significant contribution to society in a wide variety of fields.”

The list also includes a number of women who made a career in sports, who made a significant contribution to their sport, or who helped expand access for girls and women in sports. Honorees include: College basketball great Val Ackerman, who launched and served as the first president of the WNBA, the women’s professional basketball league; Julie Foudy, two-time World Cup and Olympic gold medalist and advocate for women’s and children’s rights, including Title IX; Mia Hamm, who played on four NCAA Championship soccer teams, two World Cup Championship teams and two Olympic gold medal teams, also helped found the first professional women’s soccer league; Volleyball great Flo Hyman, for whom “National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD)” was posthumously established, in recognition of her contributions to growing sports for girls and women; Jackie Joyner-Kersee, six-time Olympian and a college Track & Field star who ranked among the all-time greatest female athletes in the world and is also known for her efforts in giving underprivileged children more opportunities to safely participate in sports; Pat Summitt, who played basketball during the enactment of Title IX and whose success as a college coach at Tennessee greatly expanded recognition and opportunities for women in basketball; and Venus Williams, three-time Olympic medalist and seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion who helped lead a successful effort to gain equal prize money for women at Wimbledon.

“It is important to also recognize leaders whose primary contribution has been through sports,” said Laura Gentile, Vice President, espnW. “The inspiration they provide and the battles they fought for access, respect and recognition paved the way for all who follow.”

Current employees, trustees and officers of the sponsoring organizations were not eligible to be on the list of forty honorees. However, in the spirit of highlighting a highly qualified honorary designee of each organization, a category of “Plus Four More” was created in addition to the 40 FOR 40. They include: WSF Senior Director of Advocacy and past president Nancy Hogshead-Makar, four-time Olympian and collegiate swimmer, and one of the leading Title IX experts in the country; espnW Advisory Panel member and coaching legend Sue Enquist, an 11-time National Champion at UCLA; Enquist’s coaching tenure produced 65 All-Americans and 12 Olympians; 2012 Chair of the WICT Board and Vice President, Content Acquisition with Cox Communications Kathy Payne, a high school tennis champion and team captain, who went on to earn undergraduate and law degrees from Duke and currently negotiates complex carriage deals with all professional sports leagues, regional sports networks and college conferences for cable television and mobile platform distribution; and Scripps Networks Interactive’s Cindy McConkey, an all-state high school track and basketball player who was the first female journalist to cover Southeastern Conference football and is now Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for Scripps Networks Interactive.

“It is befitting to also recognize women who are part of our extended families and share the same characteristics of those who are being recognized as the 40 FOR 40 honorees,” said Maria E. Brennan, President & CEO of WICT. “Sports and the opportunities created by Title IX played an important role in their early lives which they have carried forward in making a real difference for each of our organizations.”

The forty women selected will be recognized at the 40 FOR 40 gathering on June 21. The event will feature keynotes and a Power Panel comprised of top honorees. The panel will explore the impact of Title IX as well as the role sports has played in helping them overcome obstacles and forging new opportunities. 40 For 40 will be part of a range of activities each organization has planned surrounding the anniversary of Title IX, including programming, social media activation and additional educational outreach.

40 FOR 40

Honoree; Professional category (can be multiple categories); Sport; Contribution
Names appear in alphabetical order.

  • Val Ackerman; Sports; Collegiate Basketball; First president of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
  • Cynthia Breazeal, Ph.D; STEM and Academia; High School Track, Swimming, Soccer and Tennis; Founder and Director of the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Laboratory.
  • Christine Brennan; Journalism/Media; High School Tennis and Field Hockey; Award-winning print and broadcast journalist who is the most widely read female sports columnist in the nation.
  • Beth Brooke; Business; Collegiate Basketball; Global Vice Chair of Public Policy at Ernst & Young and named one of Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women (2007). Corporate gender diversity advocate.
  • Ann Cody; Nonprofit; Paralympic and Collegiate Wheelchair Track & Field; Director of Policy and Global Outreach for BlazeSports America. Member of the International Paralympic Committee’s governing board.
  • Ellen DeGeneres; Arts and Entertainment; High School Tennis; Comedienne and talk show host. Just named as recipient of Mark Twain Prize.
  • Jean Driscoll; Sports; Collegiate Wheelchair Basketball and Paralympic Wheelchair Racing; Served as the national spokesperson for the ASPIRE project from 2001-2003, a national outreach program for the American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, whose goal is to provide sports opportunities for children with physical disabilities.
  • Nancy Dubuc; Media; Collegiate Crew; President of Lifetime Network and History Channel. Top ten in The Hollywood Reporter Most Powerful Women in Media.
  • General Ann E. Dunwoody; Military; Collegiate Tennis and Gymnastics; Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command; First female commander of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and first female four-star general.
  • Lynn Laverty Elsenhans; Business and STEM; Collegiate Basketball; Former CEO, Sunoco, and named one of Forbes 50 Most Powerful Women (2011). Played on first intercollegiate basketball team at Rice while getting degree in mathematical science.
  • Tina Fey; Arts and Entertainment; High School Tennis; Award-winning writer, producer, actress, comedienne and bestselling author. One of four women and youngest person ever to win Mark Twain Prize.
  • Julie Foudy; Sports; Collegiate and Olympic Soccer; Advocate for women’s and children’s rights, including Title IX. Received the FIFA Fair Play Award for her trip abroad to examine the working conditions of Reebok’s factories.
  • Irma Garcia; Sports and Academia; Collegiate Basketball; First and only Hispanic female to head a NCAA Division I athletic program.
  • Alice P. Gast, Ph.D.; Academia and STEM; High School Track & Field; President, Lehigh University, following a career as an award-winning and internationally recognized researcher and teacher at Stanford University and vice president for research and associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Jodi Gillette; Government and Civil Service; Collegiate Basketball; White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand; Government and Civil Service; Collegiate Squash; United States Senator and two-term Congresswoman from New York. Advocate for empowering women.
  • Mia Hamm; Sports; Collegiate and Olympic Soccer; Played on four NCAA Championship teams, two World Cup Championship teams and two Olympic gold medal teams. Helped found first professional women’s soccer league. Born the year Title IX was enacted, a true Title IX baby.
  • Flo Hyman; Sports; Collegiate Volleyball; “National Girls and Women in Sports Day” was posthumously established in recognition of her contributions to growing sports for girls and women.
  • Kristina M. Johnson, Ph.D.; STEM, Academia, Business, and Government/Civil Service; Collegiate Lacrosse and Field Hockey; Holds 43 patents. CEO, Enduring Energy. Formerly, professor at University of Colorado, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University, and provost at Johns Hopkins University. Served as Under Secretary for Energy at U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee; Sports; Collegiate and Olympic Track & Field; Ranked among all-time greatest female athletes in the world. Known for her efforts in giving underprivileged children more opportunities to safely participate in sports.
  • Ellen Kullman; Business and STEM; Collegiate Basketball; Chair and CEO, DuPont, and ranked fourth among the Fortune 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. Credited with leading the company’s renewed focus on biotechnology.
  • Michelle Kwan; Sports; Olympic and World Champion Figure Skater; Sports ambassador for Special Olympics, member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, and public diplomacy ambassador for U.S. State Department.
  • Queen Latifah; Arts and Entertainment; High School Basketball; Actress, singer, author, and production company owner.
  • Kathy Levinson; Business; Collegiate Basketball, Field Hockey and Tennis; Managing Director for Golden Seeds, a national network of angel investors dedicated to investing in early-stage companies founded and/or led by women.
  • Mary Bono Mack; Government and Civil Service; High School Gymnastics; Seven-term Congresswoman from California and avid advocate for sports and physical activity.
  • Sandra H. Magnus, Ph.D.; STEM; Collegiate Soccer; Astronaut on crew of final Space Shuttle mission. Played all four years on first women’s soccer team at college.
  • Linda Mastandrea; Law; Paralympic Track & Field; Attorney and leading advocate for persons with disabilities; member, legal committee for International Paralympic Committee.
  • Brigadier General Loretta Reynolds; Military; Collegiate Basketball; Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island; First female commander at Parris Island and one of only two active female generals in the Marines.
  • Dot Richardson; Medicine; Collegiate Softball; Executive Director and Medical Director of the National Training Center. Former Vice Chair of President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
  • Condoleezza Rice; Government/Civil Service and Academia; Figure Skating; Former U.S. Secretary of State and Stanford University political science professor.
  • Ambassador Susan E. Rice; Government and Civil Service; Three-sport High School Athlete; Current U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
  • Sally Ride; STEM; High School and Collegiate Tennis; First female astronaut.
  • Robin Roberts; Journalism/Media; Collegiate Basketball; Renowned broadcast journalist and anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America and ESPN’s “In the Game with Robin Roberts.”
  • Irene Rosenfeld; Business; Collegiate Basketball; CEO of Kraft Foods.
  • Mary Schapiro; Government/Civil Service and Law; Collegiate Lacrosse and Field Hockey; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair.
  • Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz; Academia and Military; Collegiate Sailing; First female leader of a US military academy.
  • Pat Summitt; Sports; Collegiate Basketball; Played basketball during the enactment of Title IX. Her success as all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history with Tennessee basketball team expanded recognition and opportunities for women in basketball.
  • Jill Vialet; Nonprofit; Collegiate Rugby; Social entrepreneur recognized as part of Forbes Impact 30 list for Playworks, an organization devoted to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.
  • Meg Whitman; Business; Collegiate Lacrosse and Squash; CEO of Hewlett Packard and former CEO of eBay.
  • Venus Williams; Sports; Tennis; Three-time Olympic medalist and seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion who helped lead a successful effort to gain equal prize money for women at Wimbledon.

Plus Four More Honorary designees include:

  • Sue Enquist; Sports; Collegiate Softball; Former UCLA Women’s Head Coach and espnW Advisory Board. Greatly expanded recognition and opportunities for the sport of softball.
  • Nancy Hogshead-Makar; Law; Collegiate and Olympic Swimmer; Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation. Leading Title IX expert and advocate.
  • Cindy McConkey; Media; All State High School Basketball and Track & Field; Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Scripps Networks Interactive. First female reporter to cover Southeastern Conference football.
  • Kathy Payne; Media; High School Tennis champion and team captain; 2012 Chair of the WICT Board and Vice President, Content Acquisition with Cox Communications. Currently negotiates complex carriage deals with all professional sports leagues, regional sports networks and college conferences for cable television and mobile platform distribution.

About Women’s Sports Foundation:
The Women’s Sports Foundation, founded in 1974, is the leader in promoting sports, health and education for girls and women. With Billie Jean King as its founder and ongoing visionary, the Women’s Sports Foundation continues to have a profound impact on female athletics, from its vigorous advocacy of Title IX legislation to providing grants and scholarships, grassroots programs for underserved girls, and groundbreaking research. An agent for change, the foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and is recognized globally for its leadership, vision, strength, expertise and influence. For more information, visit and follow WSF on Twitter (@WomensSportsFdn). The WSF is a proud partner of espnW.

About WICT:
For over thirty years, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) has partnered with cable and telecommunications leaders to provide professional development programs, research and services that help advance women in cable media. With over 9,000 members, WICT is the oldest and largest professional association serving women in the cable and telecommunications industry. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., AMC Networks/WE tv and Suddenlink Communications are WICT’s Strategic Touchstone Partners. Please visit or follow @WICT on Twitter for more information.

About espnW:
espnW’s mission is to connect female fans with the sports they love and follow. provides an engaging environment where women are an integral part of the sports conversation, share their perspective on men’s and women’s sports and find the motivation and support for their athletic goals and interests. Founded in July 2010, espnW, [], is an emerging business that consists primarily of a digital product suite including pc web, mobile web and social media. Founding partners include Nike, Gatorade and P&G (Venus and Secret). espnW is also supported by a strong social media presence on Twitter (@espnW) and Facebook. The Women’s Sports Foundation is a charity of choice of espnW.

About Scripps Networks Interactive:
Scripps Networks Interactive is a leading developer of high-profile, lifestyle-oriented content for many media platforms including television, digital, mobile and publishing. The company’s media portfolio includes popular lifestyle brands HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and country music network Great American Country (GAC). On-air programming is complemented with online video, social media and e-commerce components on companion websites reaching millions of fans around the world.
For table/ticket information contact: Kim Pugliese at 703-234-9808 or
# # #
PR Contacts

Women’s Sports Foundation – Kevin Pchola
(212) 299-8950

espnW – Diane Lamb
(860) 766-2245

WICT – Talton Gibson