RCW: A Look Back 4.32
As the 2017-18 school year comes to a close, a year in which Kansas Athletics has celebrated 50 years of women’s athletics, let’s take A Look Back at Dr. Marlene Mawson, the “Mother of Kansas Women’s Athletics.”
Mawson founded the women’s intercollegiate athletics program at KU in 1968 and coached four of the first six sports offered to the women in addition to her teaching and administrative duties in the physical education department; she added women’s tennis to her resume when it was added a few years later. Mawson’s mission then was to enable, empower and encourage young women to push themselves to achieve their goals, on the field of play and also in life.
“Mawson’s Mission,” so named to honor Mawson and her contributions to women’s athletics, now serves as one of the rowing team’s 4-person boats. It was christened by Mawson herself at the 2013 edition of the Sunflower Showdown, and will hit the water on Saturday at Wyandotte County Lake to race against Kansas State in the 2018 Dillons Sunflower Showdown.
Mawson’s competitive spirit, high character and leadership abilities are honored annually with the presentation of the Marlene Mawson Exemplary Student-Athlete Award, given to a senior female student-athlete who best represents these qualities; rower Claudijah Lever was honored as the recipient of this accolade in 2015.