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Sharlene Brightly

This year's celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day at UVA includes an award presentation honoring Sharlene Brightly (CLAS 1976) during halftime of the UVA Women's Basketball game against Clemson on February 6 at 4:00 p.m. Brightly, a member of the UVA's first Varsity Women's Basketball Team, was the first Black woman to represent the University in intercollegiate competition. Last fall, the ACC honored Brightly and George King III with its inaugural UNITE awards, created to honor individuals affiliated with the conference who have made an impact in the areas of racial and social justice.

Brightly earned a letter as a member of the basketball team during the 1973-74 season when she was a second-year student. She lettered again during the program’s second season before electing to concentrate on her academic requirements during her final year at the University.  Brightly earned her undergraduate degree in 1976 in linguistics and went on to a long career in network operations in the telecommunications field in Northern Virginia. Active in her community, she was a member of the board of directors for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic of Metropolitan Washington.

The Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and the UVA Department of Athletics are proud to collaborate each year to host the University’s celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The #NGWSD tradition, led by the Women’s Sports Foundation each year, inspires girls and women to play, to be active, and to realize their full power through the confidence, strength and character gained through sports participation. This year's celebrations have a special focus on the 50th Anniversary of Title IX. The passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 changed the landscape of women’s athletics, opening up expansive opportunities for women and girls to participate in sports. 

Additionally, as part of a virtual celebration of the day, UVA Women’s Center Directory Abby Palko will moderate a panel discussion focused on the contributions women have made to athletics at the University of Virginia. Director of Athletics Carla Williams, long-time administrator Jane Miller (retired), Title IX Coordinator Meredith Smith, and members of UVA coaching staffs working with today's female athletes will share insights into Title IX. The panel discussion is open to all and begins at 1:00 p.m. Register to attend the virtual event on zoom by registering here: https://wahoowa.net/NGWSD2022