Utah Women's Athletics Receives $6 Million Donation | Athletic Business

Utah Women's Athletics Receives $6 Million Donation

The University of Utah has received a $6 million donation toward women’s athletics.

Harriet and Leo Hopf donated the funds, which will be put toward women’s sports at the NCAA and club level, according to the Utah athletic department.

"Harriet and Leo Hopf are among our most dedicated fans, cheering on our student-athletes at both home and road games," University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins said of the donation, which the university said is one of the largest planned gifts ever received the school. "Now they have capped that loyalty with this incredibly generous gift, which will benefit our women's sports teams, clubs and programs for years to come. I am deeply grateful to the Hopfs for their commitment to women's athletics. They are making a true difference in the lives of our student-athletes."

The Hopfs intend 80 percent of the donation to go toward Utah women’s volleyball, women’s basketball and the Utes with Wings Program, while 20 percent will be put toward women’s club sports.

"The level of play is amazing, the athletes are skilled and committed, and the coaches do a wonderful job of helping their players grow into strong and confident leaders," Leo Hopf said. "It is time for these athletes and programs to get the funding they deserve. Even small donations to women's athletics can make an enormous difference, and we hope others will join us in donating at any level to support the teams they love."

Harriet Hopf said that the role college athletics played in her life led her to make the donation.

"Participating in athletics in college, both as a varsity athlete and on intramural teams, gave me the confidence and discipline to succeed in medical school, in my career, and in life," said Harriet Hopf, a professor in Utah’s Department of Anesthesiology and adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering who was a three-sport athlete at Yale. "I met Leo through intramural volleyball. Sports, both as fans and on teams, have remained an important part of our lives. When I was recruited to the University of Utah Department of Anesthesiology 14 years ago, one of the things that attracted us was the integrity and quality of Utah Athletics. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support athletics programs for women students at the U because I know the value of those experiences in preparing them for their future."

The Hopfs will be recognized during halftime of Saturday’s women’s basketball game between Utah and Oregon State.

"Harriet and Leo are incredible ambassadors for Utah Women's Athletics," Utah women's basketball coach Lynne Roberts said. "They have been faithful and passionate supporters of our program – from cheering loudly on the sidelines, to sending encouraging notes to coaches, to taking professional photographs of the action during games. They epitomize what it means to genuinely and sincerely support. This incredibly generous gift to our women's athletic programs at the University of Utah just continues to shine a bright light on what amazing people the Hopfs truly are. We are beyond grateful."

The Utes with Wings initiative, which was announced in 2018 as part of the 45th anniversary of Title IX, is intended to create more opportunities and community support for female student-athletes.

"We believe that the resources and opportunities provided by Utes with Wings allows for our female student-athletes to strive for championships on the field of play and in the field of life," Senior Woman Administrator Nona Richardson said at the time. "Your dedication, gifts, and support to Utah Athletics and its female student-athletes allows for an environment of opportunity, growth, and empowerment."

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