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Lobo Scholarship to Assist Hispanic Allied Health Students
(Released: 10/02/01)

By Karen Grava, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- Rebecca Lobo, one of the nation's best known women's basketball players, and her mother, RuthAnn, today (October 2) announced they are establishing an endowed scholarship at the University of Connecticut School of Allied Health for students from diverse backgrounds.

The scholarship, established with a pledge of $25,000, and a goal of $100,000 is designed to assist future health providers. The Lobos, whose surname is Hispanic, have committed to helping the University raise funds for the scholarship. Their $25,000 pledge will be matched with $13,500 from the state, bringing the total value of the gift to $38,500.

"I have become very involved in the Hispanic scholarship effort over the past five years. This scholarship is special because it focuses on the need for Hispanic patients to have access to health professionals with backgrounds similar to their own," Rebecca said today at a press conference attended by UConn officials and school children from Mansfield Middle and E.O. Smith High Schools. The press conference took place outside Gampel Pavilion, home to the national championship team she captained in 1995. "This scholarship is a way to encourage students with Hispanic backgrounds to enter the health care professions."

RuthAnn, a survivor of breast cancer, said she has observed the need for more minority health care workers. "We see this scholarship as a way to both help promising students and a way to help the Hispanic community."

The scholarship, to be conferred annually using interest from the endowment, will be given to a high school senior or UConn sophomore committed to enrollment in the upper division School of Allied Health, or a continuing student in the school. The student must demonstrate both academic achievement and financial need. Preference will be given to Hispanic students and students of African descent.

"First and foremost, Rebecca has always been about giving to and helping others," said Geno Auriemma, coach of the women's basketball team. "Even on the court, she was an unselfish player and a great teammate. I'm not surprised that her legacy at UConn is going to reflect that, and be one of her giving back to the community in order to help others."

Ronald L. Taylor, vice provost for multicultural affairs, said the University is grateful to the Lobo family for setting up the fund. "Students today face many financial obstacles in completing a degree. These funds will make it easier for a high achieving student to meet his or her goal. RuthAnn and Rebecca are heartily commended for their caring and foresight in setting up this endowment," he said.

Rebecca Lobo is a member of the New York Liberty team, and in 1999 was voted by the Boston Globe as one of the top 100 New England sports figures of the 20th century. She was given a locker at the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. Lobo holds a Gold Medal from the 1996 Olympics, and is the only player in history to earn both the Big East Player of the Year and the Scholar-Athlete of the Year, which she did twice.

Her UConn career also included being named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, the Honda-Broderick Cup Outstanding Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year; the NCAA Woman of the Year; the Ban/Naismith National Player of the year, and the Wade Trophy National Player of the Year, as well as many other honors.

Lobo was the Most Valuable Player of the 1995 NCAA Final Four, the same year she was a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship.

Since her graduation in 1995 with a B.A. degree in political science, Lobo has been a commentator of college basketball for CBS, ESPN, and Connecticut Public Television. She has long been a darling of the media, having been featured on the cover of the Readers Digest, and written about in many popular magazines including Sports Illustrated, Vogue, Glamour, O, Business Week, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen, Women's Sports and Fitness, Jump, Latina, and Hispanic Business, among others

She is the co-author with her mother of The Home Team , an autobiographic account of Rebecca's basketball career and her mother's successful battle with breast cancer, and both are frequently motivational speakers. Rebecca has appeared on many television game and talk shows, often with her mother.

RuthAnn Lobo who has both an M.S. and an M.A. is a guidance counselor at Granby (Conn.) Memorial Middle School. She has appeared on CNN, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America and on Lifetime Televison, and PBS, often talking about breast cancer. She was the Teacher of the Year in Granby in 1990 and was a finalist for the Connecticut State Teacher of the Year.

A resident of Southwick, Mass., RuthAnn and her husband, Dennis, have two other children and two grandchildren. She was named the Local Hero BMW Ultimate Drive Event winner, New Country Motor Cars in Hartford and BMW of North American, Inc. and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In 1997, she was presented with the Maria Miller Steward Award by the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Foundation for mentoring young girls and boys and advocating equality for girls in education. She also was awarded in 1999 the Susan G. Komen Award by the Connecticut Chapter of the Race for the Cure. The award has since been renamed the Connecticut Komen RuthAnn Lobo award.

Last year, Rebecca and RuthAnn were spokespersons for the national campaign "Save Lids to Save Lives" sponsored by General Mills, which raised over a million dollars to help fight breast cancer.

Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made by mailing a check payable to the "R&R Lobo Scholarship"/ UConn Foundation and mailed to Cynthia Adams, associate dean, School of Allied Health, 358 Mansfield Road, The University of Connecticut, Storrs CT 06269-2101.

The $25,000 pledge is part of a $300 million capital campaign, Campaign UConn, announced earlier this year, which seeks money for scholarships, faculty and program support and capital projects.

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