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Mawson’s Mission: Launching Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Kansas

September 29 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual Event

After the ratification of Title IX, women’s athletics in higher education transformed from a playday to a mandated, fully-structured program complete with national championships in less than a year. Marlene Mawson created the women’s athletic program at the University of Kansas with no precedent to guide her and a very meager budget. Mawson will describe her remarkable career as she discusses her book Mawson’s Mission:  Launching Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Kansas.

This program is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired. 

Copies of Mawson’s book are available for purchase through the KU Bookstore at this link:

Stickers with Mawson’s autograph to be inserted in the book will be distributed by the Dole Institute upon request. Please contact to reserve one. Autographs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

This special program will be live-streamed to the institute’s YouTube channel and website, Due to continuing concerns regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic, the program will only be available online. Follow the Dole Institute on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for updates regarding this and future programming.

Dr. Marlene Mawson

Marlene Mawson is an emerita professor of physical education who was a faculty member at the University of Kansas from 1968 to 1990. She was elected president of the North American Society for Sport Management for 1997-98. The annual Marlene Mawson Scholar Speaker Series in Sport Management at KU has been named for her.

Known as the “Mother of KU Women’s Athletics,” Marlene Mawson initiated athletics for women at KU in 1968 and voluntarily coached four of the six sports offered before the program was merged with KU Athletics in 1974.  Inducted into the KU Athletics Hall of Fame and the KU Women’s Hall of Fame, she was also named a “KU Pioneer Woman” and is the only woman recipient of the K-Club Service Award. She is a distinguished alumna of the University of Central Missouri, where she earned her first college degree.  Her master’s degree is from the University of Colorado in 1966 and her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1973.

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, philosophically balanced manner. It is located on KU’s West Campus and houses the Dole Archive and Special Collections. Through its robust public programming, congressional archive, and museum, the Dole Institute strives to celebrate public service and the legacies of U.S. Senators Bob Dole and Elizabeth Dole.


September 29
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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