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August 16 , 2002



Chamique Holdsclaw, star of the Washington Mystics, Olympic gold medal winner and University of Tennessee champion basketballer, will accept WREI’s American Woman Award on Wednesday, October 2nd, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

“Chamique and WREI were born in the same year—1977,” notes Jean Stapleton, award-winning actor and president of the WREI Board. “We’re thrilled to celebrate WREI’s Silver Anniversary by saluting a gold medalist!”

The American Woman Award honors individuals who have achieved great distinction and who, by conscious effort and example, promote equity for women. Previous winners include astronaut Sally Ride, economist Alice Rivlin, publisher Cathie Black, columnist Ellen Goodman, and advocate Marian Wright Edelman.

Perhaps the most celebrated woman basketball player in America, Chamique Holdsclaw grew up in the Astoria housing project of Queens, New York. She and her younger brother were raised by their grandmother, who worked two jobs in order to send them to private school.

Ms. Holdsclaw won a scholarship to the University of Tennessee, where she led the Lady Vols to an historic three straight national titles while majoring in political science. As a college junior, she won a spot on the USA Basketball’s World Championship team—the only non-professional selected. Following graduation, Ms. Holdsclaw joined the U.S. Olympic team, which took the gold medal in the 1999 Australian games.

Ms. Holdsclaw was chosen first in the Women’s National Basketball Association draft by the Washington Mystics. She has led the team to a national championship and was named most valuable player in the league.

Ms. Holdsclaw resides in Washington, DC, where she is an active volunteer at the Girls and Boys Clubs and other organizations that promote athletics and education for underprivileged girls.

According to WREI president, Susan Scanlan, 2002 is a particularly appropriate year to honor a woman athlete: “This is the 30th anniversary of Title IX of the Equal Education Act, which leveled the playing field for women and girls from elementary school through college. Chamique Holdsclaw is the personification of Title IX’s success.”

The American Woman Award gala will be held in the grand ballroom of The Mayflower on Wednesday, October 2nd. A cocktail reception and WREI’s celebrated silent auction start at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 8:00 p.m.

WREI makes individual tickets available at cost to seniors, students, veterans, and members of the military and of non-profit organizations for $55 each.