Tennis Great and Equality Advocate Billie Jean King to Kick Off Celebrating Opportunity: 50 Years of Title IX

Billie Jean King with scenes from Title IX advocacy and women’s sports at Springfield College.

Billie Jean King with scenes from Title IX advocacy and women’s sports at Springfield College.

To kick off the Springfield College Title IX at 50 celebration, King will speak at the Springfield College Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony in May

A long-time champion for social change and equality, former tennis great Billie Jean King will deliver the address at the 136th Springfield College Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 15, 2022. President Mary-Beth Cooper recently made the announcement to the College community.

Title IX at 50 Wordmark

King’s appearance is part of the Springfield College year-long Title IX at 50 celebration. The celebration commemorates the anniversary of the landmark federal law signed in 1972 that prohibits gender discrimination in educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

King has worked to advocate for LGBTQ rights, as well as for equal prize money and equal treatment of women in major athletic tournaments. In 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in the United States. In her legendary tennis career, she ranked as the top female tennis player in the world.

Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine, King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation, and part of the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angel City FC, and the Philadelphia Freedoms. 

King captured 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles, including a record 20 Wimbledon championships.
Her historic win over Bobby Riggs in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes is one of the greatest moments in sports history. 

In September 2020, King became the first woman to have an annual global team sports event named in her honor when Fed Cup, the women’s world cup of tennis, was rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup. The National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006 in honor of her accomplishments on and off the court. In 2021, she received the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. 

King serves on the board of the Women’s Sports Foundation, is an Adidas Global Ambassador, and is a past member of both the board of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Her memoir, ALL IN: An Autobiography, was published by Knopf in August 2021. End of article