The record-breaking gift from Dr. John York and Denise DeBartolo York will assist women's athletics.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The largest single gift to Youngstown State University's intercollegiate athletic program is being dedicated to women's sports.
Dr. John York and Denise DeBartolo York, who head the Boardman-based DeBartolo Corp. and San Francisco 49ers, were recognized for their $500,000 gift at a Monday evening reception in the university's DeBartolo Stadium Club.
"This is once again showing how Denise DeBartolo York and John York support YSU, and they have picked an area where we need so much financial help," said Ruth Wilkes, YSU trustee chairwoman, referring to the need to foster "gender equity" in athletics.
"With their help, we're going to be able to do some wonderful things for women's athletics," she added.
Long-term aid: Paul McFadden, the university's development director, added, "It's such a commitment which will be here for generations of female student athletes. It is a milestone in women's athletics, and it puts YSU at the forefront.''
Pauline Saternow, interim athletic director, said interest earned on the gift will be used to support special projects or purchase equipment in the women's athletic program. YSU offers 10 intercollegiate sports for women, she added.
"It shows the importance of women's athletics in the community and that community leaders are beginning to recognize the importance of women's athletics," she said.
DeBartolo York said: "I've loved all the sports at Youngstown State. I'm a great fan. I think the men's sports are terrific, but they're always in the forefront. I thought it was time we gave the women's sports people a shot in the arm also."
Helped daughters: York said: "We've gotten to know most of the Lady Penguins, and they've helped our daughters, Mara and Jenna, learn to play basketball."
"We've watched how the sports really help the women develop. We wanted to do something that showed our recognition of our enjoyment of the women's sports and what we think the women's sports mean to the entire community. I think it really builds the women's confidence, both academically and socially, and that's why we designated to that program."
On display at the reception was the new purple and silver DeBartolo Corp. logo, together with previous DeBartolo corporate logos and logos for individual DeBartolo malls and racetracks.
DeBartolo York is chairwoman of the corporation, and her husband, John York, is president of the corporation.