For many years, the DeBartolo name has been associated with philanthropic support of the Mahoning Valley and Youngstown State University. The DeBartolo Building was opened on the YSU campus in 1978, and the DeBartolo Stadium Club crowned the expansion of Stambaugh Stadium. Now Denise DeBartolo York and her husband Dr. John York have contributed $500,000 -- the largest single gift to YSU's intercollegiate athletic program -- and dedicated it to women's sports.
Shot in the arm: In making the donation, 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 though it was time we gave the women's sports people a shot in the arm also."
The sizable contribution will be more than welcome. Pauline Saternow, interim athletic director, said the interest earned on the gift will be used to support special projects and to purchase equipment for women's athletics.
YSU needs to increase its support for women's athletics. According to the most recent federal Title iX report of gender equity in athletics, $2.4 million was expended on men's programs -- 62.8 percent -- at the same time that $1.4 million was spent on women's programs -- 37.2 percent..
The magnitude of the Debartolo York gift should certainly encourage the university's administration to increase its support of women's sports.
Confidence: But perhaps, more important, the enthusiasm of Denise Debartolo York and John York should bolster the spirits of current women athletes and give other women the confidence to participate in sports programs knowing how highly regarded they are by community leaders.
Of course, few individuals are in a position to contribute so generously to the university or other community needs. But people in the Valley can show their support of women's -- and men's -- athletics by attending games or meets to demonstrating their appreciation of the area's young people.