March 28, 2011
Century of Change Event Website
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh Department Of Athletics and the African American Alumni Council of the Pitt Alumni Association are partnering to present "Athletics at Pitt: The Forefront of a Century of Change." The celebration will mark the centennial anniversary of the first African-American student-athletes at the University of Pittsburgh and take place on Tuesday, May 10 at the Petersen Events Center.
"This is a monumental event for the University of Pittsburgh, embracing both the past and the future," said University of Pittsburgh Athletic Director Steve Pedersen. "We are excited and honored to be welcoming back many Panther greats to this celebration."
The unprecedented event will commemorate the achievements of African-American student-athletes the past 100 years at the University of Pittsburgh. The monumental celebration will be hosted by famed sportscaster Bob Costas.
Costas, winner of 21 Emmy Awards, is one of the most recognized and accomplished figures in sports broadcasting. Costas - with NBC Sports since 1979 - has covered nearly every major sport, but is most identified with the Olympics and baseball.
The celebrated figure has anchored NBC's primetime coverage of the last five summer Olympics - Barcelona 1992; Atlanta 1996; Sydney, Australia, 2000; Athens, Greece, 2004; and Beijing, China, 2008. He is scheduled to host the 2012 London Summer Games. Costas also hosted the winter games in Salt Lake City 2002; Torino, Italy 2006; and Vancouver Canada 2010.
Costas' hosting duties have not been limited to the Olympics as he has also anchored five Super Bowls and worked 10 NBA Finals.
In 2009, Costas inked a long-term contract to join the newly-created MLB Network. As part of the deal, Costas departed HBO and his critically acclaimed show "Costas Now." He previously hosted HBO's "Inside the NFL" for six seasons. At MLBN, the renowned broadcaster has returned to play-by-play on selected game telecasts, and inaugurated the "Studio 42" interview series.
Herb Douglas, president emeritus of the International Amateur Athletic Association, Inc. and a member of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees, is serving as dinner chair for the event.
"The contribution of African American student-athletes has been significant in the history of the University of Pittsburgh. This event is an evening to celebrate where we are and where we have come the last 100 years," said Douglas. "There is, however, always room for improvement and we have to engage ourselves and strive for continued excellence from all our athletes."
Founder of the Jesse Owens International Trophy Award and the Jesse Owens Global Award, Douglas is a University of Pittsburgh alumnus with both a bachelor's degree in science and a master's degree in education. He came to Pitt on a football scholarship in 1945, and excelled at track and field while at the University. The Pittsburgh won a bronze medal in the long jump at the 1948 London Olympic Games and held the school's long jump record for 23 years.
The first African-American athletes arrived at Pitt in 1911. Oakdale, Pa. native Harry Ray Wooten and Hubbard Hollensworth from Owega, N.Y were heralded in a publication from the period as `great track artists who took their sport seriously.'
The evening will begin with a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by general reception at 6 p.m. with dinner to begin at 7 p.m. All former athletes are invited to attend.
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