Kansas Athletics and K Club Welcome Female Athlete Alumni

Jan. 23, 2011


Over 300 women returned to campus for the Female Athlete Alumni Weekend, Jan. 22-23. The former student-athletes revisited their college experience as they packed Allen Fieldhouse for the Kansas vs. Texas men’s basketball game. The weekend welcomed back Jayhawks of all generations allowing teammates, coaches, managers and trainers to reconnect. Memories were both shared and made as many relived their KU days.

The stories across generations demonstrated the progression of women’s athletics at KU throughout the years. In attendance for the weekend was Dr. Marlene Mawson, the “mother” of KU women’s athletics. Women like Dr. Mawson paved the way for KU’s female athletes of today who compete at the highest levels.

The weekend’s activities continued Sat. night with a social at The Oread Hotel into Sun. as the women met for brunch, sponsored by K Club, in Horejsi Family Athletics Center. Debbie Van Saun, Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator, emceed the event. The returning student-athletes enjoyed guest speakers including: Sheahon Zenger, Athletics Director; David Johnston, K Club Board President; Lorraine Davis, 1950 graduate; Dr. Marlene Mawson, the “Mother” of KU women’s athletics and Emily Powers, 2010 graduate and former KU golfer. Dr. Zenger expressed his excitement about the future of Kansas Athletics and getting to know the alumni, while David touched upon the future of K Club and his pride in Kansas Athletics over the years. The women guest speakers gave more personal stories about women’s athletics during their years spent at KU. Lorraine was involved in many club sports while she attended KU, before varsity teams were even available for female athletes. Dr. Mawson told stories about days when women’s coaches drove their players across the country for tournaments in station wagons with brown bag lunches, because travel support was not available for women’s programs. Emily experienced women’s athletics much differently than Dr. Mawson and Lorraine but gave gratitude to them for being the reason she had the opportunities she did as a female athlete.

Volleyball player, Karina Garlington was awarded the Marlene Mawson Female Athlete of the Year Award during the K Club brunch and was recognized at the women’s basketball game against Oklahoma. The award is presented to a senior female athlete who has played an integral role on her respective team and has maintained a minimum of a 2.5 GPA. The student-athlete must also have competitive ideals, which have been demonstrated throughout her collegiate athletics career. In addition, the student-athlete must also possess leadership qualities, either within athletics or in other campus activities.

Garlington was a four-year starter for the Jayhawks’ volleyball team from 2007-10. She left the program as one of the top outside hitters in program history. This past season Garlington was the team’s top offensive producer in 20 matches, and she ranked seventh among Big 12 volleyball players with 3.51 kills per set for the season. Garlington’s success did not stop on the court, however, as she excelled in the classroom as well. As a sports management major, Garlington had an overall grade point average of 3.79. She made the Academic All-Big 12 First Team three times, and in 2010 Garlington was recognized as an ESPN Academic All-District honoree for the second time in her career. Garlington was also involved with Habitat for Humanity, Jubilee Café, Special Olympics and Jayhawk volleyball camps and clinics.