Retired Professor Establishes Endowment for Wellesley College Athletics

For immediate release:
March 3, 2008

Contact: Molly Tarantino,

WELLESLEY, Mass. — Many collegiate athletic programs benefit from the generosity of individual donors, but former Wellesley College Professor Linda K. Vaughan has made a gift that not only supports current students but also generations to come. Vaughan, Professor Emerita and former chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (PERA), has established an endowment fund to support the Friends of Wellesley College Athletics (FOWCA), which champions varsity athletics and helps promote recreation and fitness college-wide.

The Linda K. Vaughan Endowment Fund for the Friends of Wellesley College Athletics will enhance the organization’s mission to support student-athletes and encourage a lifelong interest in fitness and athletics among alumnae, students and campus community members. Vaughan was a pioneering force in FOWCA’s founding in 1986.

“I was fortunate to have been part of the growth and development of Wellesley’s intercollegiate athletics program and now am honored to be able to help ensure its continued pursuit of excellence,” Vaughan said. Wellesley currently has 13 varsity athletic teams.

Vaughan made her gift in honor of Katherine Curtis (“Kitsy”) Rigler, a member of the class of 1961 who served on Wellesley’s board of trustees and was the first alumna co-chair – with Vaughan -- of FOWCA for its first seven years.

“I am humbled and deeply moved that Linda has named me in connection with her fine gift,” Rigler said. “This fund brings welcome and important support for Linda’s longstanding vision for athletics at Wellesley.”

Before her retirement in 2000, Vaughan had been a member of the Wellesley faculty for 34 years, during a period of tremendous growth in opportunities for women student- athletes. She was awarded FOWCA’s Exceptional Service Award in 1990 for her extraordinary service to and in support of women’s sports at Wellesley.

“Linda’s legacy of visionary leadership and pursuit of athletic excellence at Wellesley is solidified forever with this commitment to FOWCA,” said Bridget Belgiovine, the PERA chair and director of athletics. “Our student-athletes, faculty and staff will be the true beneficiaries of her thoughtful generosity.”

FOWCA provides supplementary support for Wellesley's athletic and recreational programs and also provides opportunities for students and alumnae to share a lifelong commitment to physical activity and recreation. In recent years, FOWCA has enhanced cardio fitness and strength training equipment for campus-wide use and has funded items such as a volleyball scoreboard, oars for Wellesley’s class and dorm crew program, lacrosse goal cages, and the establishment of softball as a varsity sport. In the past five years, FOWCA has provided more than $190,000 to supplement athletic and recreational activities of Wellesley students.

“Having a predictable source of revenue from this endowment fund to supplement annual contributions will transform FOWCA’s future in the same way that Linda and Kitsy’s shared vision changed Wellesley athletics over the past two decades,” said Maria Finarelli ’90, current alumna co-chair of FOWCA.  The Linda K. Vaughan Endowment Fund is an open fund to which contributions from other donors can be made.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.