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One Woman’s Actions Created Opportunities for Thousands

Ruth Podbielski

Ruth Podbielski in 1999

In her career, Ruth Podbielski forced change that broke barriers and that created opportunities for generations of women athletes.

Podbielski—fondly remembered on campus as Pod—arrived at IUP in 1955 as a member of the health and physical education faculty. Back then, the only athletic outlets for women students were intramurals teams and scheduled “play days” with teams from other colleges. Varsity sports for women? No way.

A trailblazer, Pod made things happen for women athletes at IUP. She served as the catalyst behind the athletics program, establishing varsity teams for women a full two years before the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment and Title IX forced the issue. Take a look at how well IUP’s women’s teams do in 2017, and you’ll see an impressive record of conference championships, post-season appearances, and, most important, scholar athletes who consistently are recognized for their academic prowess.

Podbielski died in 2017, but her legacy did not. Her estate plans included a provision to supplement a scholarship that had been established in her honor before her death.

One of the students who benefits from the Podbielski Scholarship is Brittany Robinson, an aspiring teacher and a forward on the basketball team.

Brittany Robinson driving to the hoop

Brittany Robinson, one of many Ruth Podbielski Scholarship beneficiaries

In addition to her coursework and her practice and playing time, Robinson has volunteered at Indiana’s local Miracle Field, a baseball diamond set up for children and adults with special need. She is picking up the leadership skills and understanding that will enable her to be a strong teacher who can guide and influence her students.

Through athletes like Robinson, Ruth Podbielski’s legacy lives on, ensuring society has well-prepared leaders who are confident and prepared to take on the future’s challenges.

Imagine your passion creating a current with no limits.

To learn more about the simple ways to extend your legacy through the IUP experience, contact Dave Maudie '87, executive director of the Foundation for IUP, at 724-357-2243.