The Springfield College Department of Sport Management and Recreation hosted the 26th Annual Weckwerth Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 26, featuring Camille Kraft, G’91, EdD, educator and business owner, who recapped the impact of women trailblazers in sport. This year’s Weckwerth Lecture was part of the year-long Springfield College celebration of 50 years of Title IX, the landmark civil rights legislation.
Kraft’s interactive presentation celebrated the accomplishments of many firsts – first female general manager in MLB (Kim Ng), first female coach in the NBA (Becky Hammon), and NFL (Beckie Sowers). As she stressed that progress has been made during the last 50 years of increasing equality for women in sports, Kraft reminded the audience that there is still plenty of more work to do in building momentum to advocate, educate, and more importantly, advance the power of women in sport today.
“Women have been such an important part of the history of sports for such a long time,” said Kraft. “We have seen women have a strong impact in so many sports, much longer than 50 years ago. What Title IX has helped with is building the awareness that much more work has to be done. We are seeing the growth in women’s athletics, leagues like the WNBA are flourishing, we are seeing teams like the United States women soccer team fight for equal pay, and have success. The fact is, women have been playing sports just as long as men, and Title IX continues to reinforce that we need to make sure it’s an equal playing field for both men and women athletes in all level of sports.”
During her impressive career, Kraft served as the administrator of the NFL Substance Abuse Program, the first woman to represent this program on the NFL Substance Abuse Committee, which reported to the NFL and NFLPA. During her business adventures, Kraft owned Student Athlete Sashes (www.StudentAthelteSashes.com) and Dr. Camille Kraft Consulting (Professional Athlete Consulting Business).
“It’s so important to maintain the momentum that Title IX has created,” added Kraft. “Challenges do remain, but the more we can continue to have open dialogues where equality for all is talked about and stressed, we can continue to make progress for the future generations that can help carry the torch for advocating for Title IX.”
The Weckwerth Lecture is named in honor of the late Charles F. Weckwerth, who was a distinguished Springfield College professor of Humanics, and annually brings leading experts in the fields of sport management and recreation to Springfield College to address emerging trends in these fields.