FSU raises $7.2 million for women’s athletics

Florida State officials announced on Saturday that more than $7.2 million had been raised to support women’s athletics as part of the Unconquered Campaign, surpassing the goal of $5 million.

Nylah Thompson, who is helping spearhead the campaign, thanked the donations from fans, alumni and boosters during an event that celebrated the 50th anniversary of women’s intercollegiate athletics at FSU.

Stories from past FSU women’s student-athletes were part of the event and the year-long emphasis on reflecting on the journey that the teams took from when they were formed in the late 1960s, through the Title IX legislation in the 1970s and then seeing success in the 1980s with national titles in sports like softball, golf and track.

“They’ve heard a lot of stories about how it was before they were here, especially with the women’s athletes,” beach volleyball coach Brooke Niles said. “Sometimes you can grumble about things, or not having a bus to travel. What some of these women athletes have been through is way more extreme than that. I think it helps give them perspective and make them grateful for what they have.”

FSU athletics officials spent more than two years planning for the 50th anniversary season. And while the plan was to honor those who paved the way, it has also been a celebration of 2018 national titles in softball and soccer.

“Just the sheer number of trophies in this room, championship trophies from this past year alone says a lot about the excellence and success that we have been to achieve as a women’s athletics department at Florida State,” Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator Vanessa Fuchs said.

Fuchs said that FSU athletics is No. 2 in the nation in the Capital One Cup in the 2018-19 season.

FSU administrators also announced the winners of the Femina Perfecta Award, which is presented to the “complete woman” on each of the 11 teams and is the player who teammates view is the most “invaluable to the team and who will always make a difference.”

The 2018-19 Femina Perfecta recipients are: Nausia Woolfolk (basketball), Brooke Kuhlman (beach volleyball), Megan Mooney (cross country), Eden Hessinger (diving), Ashley Mangan (golf), Natalia Kuikka (soccer), Cali Harrod (softball), Paige Schendelaar-Kemp (swimming), Ariana Rahmanparast (tennis), Cortney Jones (track and field) and Brianne Burkert (volleyball).