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Iconic journalist to join UT Board of Trustees as first national board member

Toledo native Christine Brennan, an award-winning national columnist, commentator and best-selling author, agreed to join the UT Board of Trustees as its first national board member.

At the April board meeting, trustees approved UT’s ability to have national members serve for a two-year term as volunteers without voting privileges. National board members are eligible for an additional two-year term.

Christine Brennan

The role of national members is to advocate on behalf of higher education and UT, as well as provide counsel to the University and members of the board.

Brennan’s appointment is scheduled to be formally approved Monday, May 15 by the UT Board of Trustees.

“As one of the most respected sports journalists in the country, Christine Brennan is a trailblazer for women,” said Sharon Speyer, chair of the UT Board of Trustees. “Her breadth of experience, including her service as a trustee for Northwestern University, will provide great insight as the board deliberates on issues that impact our community at large. We are honored that she has accepted this invitation, and we look forward to working with her.”

Brennan is a national columnist at USA Today and a commentator at ABC News, CNN, PBS NewsHour and National Public Radio. She has authored seven books, including best-seller “Inside Edge,” which was named one of the top 100 sports books in history by Sports Illustrated.

“The University of Toledo has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Brennan said. “I grew up in the shadow of University Hall and spent countless hours in the Glass Bowl, cheering on the unbeatable Rockets. I still own a home in Toledo and care very much about the city and this wonderful University, so I’m happy to help any way that I can.”

Approximately 10 years ago, Brennan started an endowed scholarship at UT.

Brennan, a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She serves on Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees.

Brennan has twice been named one of the country’s top 10 sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors. She was the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), and created an AWSM program that provides internships and scholarships for women. To date, more than 140 students have benefited from that program.

A staunch advocate for female journalists in a male-oriented profession, she was the first female sports reporter for the Miami Herald. Later hired by The Washington Post, she was the first woman to cover the Washington Redskins as a staff writer for the newspaper.

She went on to cover some of the most controversial subjects in sports. Her USA Today column regarding the male-only member policy at Augusta National Golf Club in 2002 triggered a vigorous national debate. Ten years later, Brennan broke the news that Augusta had revised its policy to include women members.

Brennan also broke the story about a judging scandal in figure skating during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, as well as a similar judging scandal during the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia.

Brennan, who will provide commentary during the Olympics this winter, will deliver the keynote address during UT’s spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 7 in the Glass Bowl on Main Campus.

 

is a Media Relations Specialist. Contact her at 419.530.2077 or christine.billau@utoledo.edu.
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