Fugate scholarship shows growth of women’s sports at WT

Judy Fugate had a friend whose granddaughter played basketball for the Lady Buffs in Mark Kellogg’s freshman year at West Texas A&M University in 2013. She was invited to a game to watch her play.

Sure, why not? She’d been to a few games over the past few years, but Fugate wasn’t yet what you’d call a loyal fan. But in a year that saw WT 32-3 and a NCAA Division II national runner-up, that changed quickly.

“I was like, ‘Well, that was kind of fun,'” she said. “I think I’ll be back.”

Very quickly she got season tickets for the Lady Buffs. Then, she reasoned, if the other women’s teams are anything like basketball, both as people and players, why not support them? This led to season tickets in volleyball and softball.

“And I don’t know anything about football,” Fugate said, “but I plan to go out and see it too.”

Nearly 10 years later, on the 50th anniversary of the state Title IX Civil Rights Act preventing gender discrimination, Fugate did more than buy season tickets to cheer on the Lady Buff teams, it did more than help the softball team break to serve breakfast in spring.

She made a historic gift to WT women’s athletics.

On April 26, before a large gathering of friends, the WT administration and Lady Buff athletes, the foundation of the Judy Fugate Lady Buff Scholarship was announced. It’s a $1.85 million legacy gift to One West’s massive fundraising campaign.

WT footballers Mandy Sticker and Alli Holder and Assistant Athletic Director for Leadership Kimberly Dudley, from left, thank donor Judy Fugate, right, after announcing a $1.8 million legacy gift to the WT women's athletics.

In the founding year, at least one athlete from each women’s sport receives a scholarship. As a planned gift, the money will also enable the establishment of the J. Fugate Fund for Lady Buffs Athletics, which will support the seven women’s teams.

“This gift is so beautifully thought out and constructed and it will help ensure that we can continue to offer our Lady Buffs opportunities to compete nationally and opportunities that were almost non-existent when Judy was in school,” WT Director of Athletics Michael said McBroom.

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