Event planned to recognize a Seymour legend

Fifty years ago, Congress adopted what became known as Title IX legislation, leveling the field and court of play for girls in public schools across America.

With that anniversary in mind, former students and athletes established the Coach Donna Sullivan Title IX Legacy Scholarship fund at the Community Foundation of Jackson County to honor their former coach.

Sullivan will be recognized during a tribute honoring her influence coaching girls high school sports at Seymour and Trinity Lutheran high schools. The event will take place June 10.

Alice Laskowski, a 1972 SHS graduate and one of the event organizers, hopes to see hundreds of former Sullivan-coached players like herself turn out, honor their former coach and make gifts into the new scholarship fund.


Sullivan, 75, competed in sports at Indiana University between 1966 and 1970 and was the first Owls coach at Seymour after the passage of Title IX. Sullivan still serves as an assistant coach at Trinity.

“Sull has spent 50 years promoting girls and women in sports,” Laskowski said. Honoring those efforts is just the right thing to do, she added.

Sullivan said the event, where she is scheduled to speak, should be thrilling for her and others attending.

“I think it’s a great day for a lot of people,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to be a great time for everybody.”

The idea for a Sullivan event stemmed from talks Laskowski and her Seymour basketball teammate, Jean Laupus, shared about possibly holding a reunion. They began talking to others, Laskowski said, and the idea exploded.

When it became clear they were discussing a gathering that might attract anywhere from 500 people to more, Laskowski said their search for a venue seemed to be logical — the Seymour High School gymnasium – where not only Sullivan coached but where Laskowski’s father, Lloyd “Barney” Scott, also coached.

Construction work planned there, however, means the event will take place at the Seymour Middle School cafeteria. Broken down between speeches and what Laskowski called a showcase exhibition basketball game between Seymour and Trinity, details of the celebration are still being developed.

The goal for now is to spread the word among all former players who came under Sullivan’s coaching and guidance, with as many as possible setting aside the date, as well as other coaches, former coworkers and friends.

Sullivan is a member of the Indiana High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

Seymour native and Indiana University women’s basketball coach Teri Moren will join the festivities. Moren, who played high school ball for Sullivan with the Owls, is expected to introduce her former coach at the event.

“I think it’s great,” Moren told The Tribune of plans to honor Sullivan. “It’s awesome. Hopefully, I can be there. She has coached so many people. She deserves it.”

The Coach Donna Sullivan Title IX Legacy Scholarship will be awarded to a young woman graduating from Seymour High School or Trinity Lutheran High School who is active in athletics and committed to education. The scholarship will provide assistance for postsecondary education. Candidates will possess a strong desire and willingness to further Sullivan’s work in advancing opportunities for women in education, administration and athletics.

Her former athletes, students, friends and family have established a goal of $50,000, representing the 50 years Sullivan has continued to persevere in her pursuit of excellence.

To make a gift to the fund, you may go to the website for the Community Foundation of Jackson County — cfjacksoncounty.org — and click on Donate Now. If you choose to make an online donation, please be sure to follow up with an email to [email protected] noting that your donation is for the “Sullivan Fund.”

If you choose to pay by check, please write your check to Community Foundation of Jackson County and include “Sullivan Fund” in your memo line. Checks may be left at the foundation’s office, 107 Community Drive in Seymour (across from Seymour High School), or you may mail them to Community Foundation of Jackson County, P.O. Box 1231, Seymour, IN 47274.

The Community Foundation of Jackson County remains committed to helping our donors and nonprofits meet the challenges that face our community as, together, we build stronger, better tomorrows.

Dan Davis, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Jackson County, writes a monthly column. The foundation is at 107 Community Drive, Seymour. For information about donating, call 812-523-4483 or send an email to [email protected].