Equity in women's athletics at K College gets a 500K boost, Getman Endowment

A former Kalamazoo College English major has given a $500,000 gift in support of women’s athletics, prompted by his granddaughter’s recent experience as an aspiring college softball player. 

The gift from Dana Getman, Class of  ’68, establishes the Getman Endowment for Equity in Women’s Athletics, which supports Kalamazoo College’s strategic plan, Advancing Kalamazoo College: A Strategic Vision for 2023.
 
“The Getman Endowment is such an incredible gift of support, not only for the women at K, but the community as a whole,” says Hunter Bishop, head volleyball coach at the college.

“The students of Kalamazoo College are extraordinary people who are elite at many different things, and now have the opportunity to build upon that level of excellence in our respective playing arenas. This will no doubt have a lasting impact on the little girls that make up the next generation of student-athletes,” Bishop says.

“'More in four, More in a lifetime' is our motto, and the fact that alumni believe so much in athletics being a vital part of a student’s experience at K makes me even more excited about the direction the department is headed.”
 
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, which required many colleges and universities to offer a women’s athletics program equivalent to any offered for men. Historically, however, many women’s teams have struggled to achieve the same level of funding as men’s teams at K, as at other colleges, says Becky Hall, director of athletics at K.
 
“Achieving more equity between our women’s and men’s sports programs has been a need and a goal at K as long as I’ve been here, and a gift like this goes a long way toward making that a reality,” Hall says.
 
Getman hopes creating this fund will inspire others to recognize and address inequities women face in athletics and beyond.

Recently, one of his granddaughters received several offers to play softball at smaller colleges, yet at every college and university she visited, the women's programs fell short of the men's. She saw discrepancies between locker rooms, field maintenance, seating, and more. Ultimately, she decided not to play softball when she heads off to college in the fall.
 
“Watching her apply to various schools and evaluate their athletic programs and women’s softball, and then, for various reasons, giving that up, taking a pass on playing in college, is the backdrop to this gift,” Getman says. “The college may have the best intentions of equity, but it may take a long time to get there. If alumni come along and help, maybe that’s what it takes.”

Getman, chairman of the board of Getman Corp., has three daughters, as well as four granddaughters who have been active in high school athletic programs. One granddaughter went on to play tennis at Smith College, a women’s school.
 
One of the first plans for the endowment is to add Hornets vinyl wall wraps to the women’s locker rooms to make them more personalized and welcoming, Hall says, and more on par with the men’s locker rooms.
 
“We plan in the future to use this fund to support and enhance equity in our women’s athletic programs’ operating budgets,” Hall says. “We also hope to fund additional staffing in the future to benefit our women’s teams.”
 
Getman has been a previous supporter of the Athletic Field Complex and the Fitness and Wellness Center.  
 
Following his time as an English major at Kalamazoo College, Getman returned to his family’s business, guiding its evolution from building equipment that transported concrete that aided in the construction of the Mackinac Bridge to becoming a leading, worldwide supplier of safe and efficient mining equipment. He has led the Getman Corp. in multiple capacities for four decades, including his current role of chairman of the board.
 
“We are grateful to Dana Getman and to all our donors for their generosity and support,” Hall says. “Our goal is to continue to raise the bar, to make them proud, and to work hard every day to impact the student-athletes in our women’s programs in a positive way. Our coaches know the responsibility and power they hold, and they hold it with a lot of pride, a lot of passion, emotion and enthusiasm.”

Kalamazoo College, founded in 1833, is a nationally recognized residential liberal arts and sciences college located in Kalamazoo. The creator of the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College provides an individualized education that integrates rigorous academics with life-changing experiential learning opportunities. For more information, click here

The Brighter Light Campaign is raising $150 million to provide endowed and annual support for students, faculty and staff, curricular and co-curricular activities, athletics and campus facilities. For more information, visit the Brighter Light Campaign page.

Dana Getman with Director of Athletics Becky Hall and Women’s Athletics Coaches: A fund announcement event for the establishment of the Getman Endowment for Equity in Women’s Athletics included (front row, left to right) Director of Athletics Becky Hall, Dana Getman ’68, Women’s Lacrosse Coach Jess Smith, Women’s Basketball Coach Katie Miller, (back row, left to right) Women’s Tennis Coach Mark Murphy, Softball Coach Kelli Duimstra, Women’s Soccer Coach Bryan Goyings, Swimming and Diving Assistant Coach Beth Mitchell, Women’s Volleyball Coach Hunter Bishop, Cross Country Coach Kyle Morrison and Golf Coach Josh Burt.

Read more articles by Rosemary Parker.

Rosemary Parker has worked as a writer and editor for more than 40 years, most of that time in Southwest Michigan.