Sept. 26, 2004
Celebrating women in sports has become a priority over the past several years at Florida State University and there has been no greater proponent of this effort than the Committee of Thirty. Formed in 1998 to promote women’s athletic programs at Florida State, the Committee of Thirty is comprised of women and men who volunteer their time and service and are committed to building philanthropy and support for these programs. The Committee also sponsors several major activities and events during the year. One such event is the Champions Beyond the Game Brunch, which is held each fall. Hosted by the Committee of Thirty, in conjunction with Seminole Boosters and the FSU Department of Athletics, the sixth-annual Champions Beyond the Game Brunch will take place the morning of Sunday, October 3rd at the University Center Club.
Contributors to women’s athletic scholarships, current student-athletes and coaches, athletic and Seminole Boosters administrative staff join to honor the past, celebrate the present and promote the future. During the event, two Seminole graduates who have excelled in life after collegiate sports are recognized. One pre-scholarship era and one post-scholarship era athlete return to be honored and to share the important lessons learned from being a student-athlete at Florida State and how those lessons have helped them become a success in life. This year’s honorees are Dr. Jo Anne Whitaker and Celia Slater – two VERY impressive women!
Dr. Jo Anne Whitaker, a 1948 graduate in microbiology, was F Club President and active in student affairs as an undergraduate. During her college years, she was two-time winner of the Florida Amateur Woman’s Golf Association Tournament and was the first woman to play in the Florida Open Championship.
A graduate of Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest College, Dr. Whitaker had special training in hematology, nutrition, oncology, psychiatry and bacteriology. She has been Professor of Pediatrics at the universities of Texas, St. Louis, and Illinois and at Chieng Mai University in Thailand. She originated and was the Medical Director for the first Hospice in Florida.
In addition, Dr. Whitaker has served as the Director of Research for the Arthritis Pain Center in Clearwater and a Director of the Chronic Pain Center in Colorado. Currently, she is the President and Director of Research for the Bowen Research and Training Institute in Palm Harbor, Florida. Two particular areas of interest are in the effects of Lyme Disease and the use of alternative medicines.
Dr. Whitaker’s honors, among many, include Distinguished Service Award by the American Medical Society, Distinguished Service Award by the Viet Nam Government, the Health Medal and the Florida State Emeritus Club Commitment to Excellence Award.
A 1985 graduate of Leisure Services and Studies, Slater was a scholarship basketball player, a four-year letter winner whose jersey number was 22. She was named captain and MVP her senior year and was named to the Metro Conference Commissioner’s List for academic excellence.
Slater is a gold medal winner as a member of Team Handball at the 1987 Olympic Festival, the first coach of woman’s basketball at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and women’s basketball coach at Lynn University. She was also on the staff of the WNBA first ever pre-draft camp.
Currently, she is the Executive Director of the WinStar Foundation which has two programs – the Coaches Academy and Play with a Purpose. The Coaches Academy, which the NCAA sponsors, provides training and certification for women coaches at all levels and helps with recruitment and retention. Play with a Purpose provides tools for athletes and their coaches to improve communication styles, honor personal and team values and goals, and to explore their current feelings and behaviors. She is also the Special Projects Coordinator for the National Association of Women Athletic Administrators.
Slater continues to be dedicated to her personal and professional development. She is a recent graduate of the NACWAA/HERS Institute and the NACDA Management and Leadership Training Institute.