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A Perfect Match: Lynda Brothers ('68) Makes Transformational Gift To Cal Athletics

February 27, 2020
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Lynda Brothers might have been the best female athlete walking around the UC Berkeley campus back in the late 1960s, but every once in a while she met her match.

Brothers, while playing for Cal's women's tennis team, used to practice at the Hearst Tennis Courts. Turns out the husband of the world's No. 1 women's tennis player at the time was a student at the nearby Boalt Law School (now BerkeleyLaw).

Now and then, Billie Jean (Moffitt) King made an appearance at Hearst and hit with Brothers.

"It was a kick," said Brothers, who also played basketball at Cal. "I'd be thinking we'd be having a nice rally, and no sooner did I think that she'd end the rally with some amazing shot. It was fun."

Brothers had a lot of fun at Cal, and the impact the campus made on her was life-changing -- so much so that she is dedicated to giving back to the university.

In an extraordinary example of her commitment to Cal's future, Brothers has gifted Cal Athletics approximately $10.8 million via her estate to support six women's sports teams on campus. It's one of the largest single-donor gifts the department has ever received, and will be transformational to Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Berkeley.

"We are deeply grateful for Lynda's unwavering generosity, leadership and counsel in support of Cal Athletics," Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. "Lynda's visionary legacy gift for our women's sports programs will significantly impact student-athlete experiences for generations to come, and ensure that she will forever be connected with the values that athletics instills in our future leaders."

Brothers' gift will endow scholarships for women's basketball, women's tennis, field hockey, softball, volleyball and women's golf.

Brothers funded a women's basketball scholarship in 2014 and also has supported women's golf, field hockey and women's tennis in the past.

"Lynda has been a friend of our program for many years, as well as our broader women's athletic program," Cal head women's golf coach Nancy McDaniel said. "The interest and care that she has chosen for all of our programs is impactful, and knowing that this gift is in our future gives us a feeling of stability and hope for funding all the women's sports at a very high level at Cal."

Brothers received her degree in genetics from Cal in 1968 before earning a master's in biology from Virginia in 1971 and her law degree from Golden Gate University in 1976. She went on to a superlative career as an environmental lawyer, making huge impacts in both the private and public sectors.

Brothers attended Cal before the presence of varsity sports for women. While sports was a huge part of her life during her time in Berkeley, she said it was her experience as a student that provided the primary motivation for giving back to the athletics department.

"Berkeley was just a life-changing experience for me," Brothers said. "It's just an incredible place that has done a lot for me. You don't have a sense of how capable you are until you go to a place like Berkeley. It was intellectually challenging. When you realize you can do all this at a place like Berkeley, it's confidence-building."

At 5-foot-11 and athletic, Brothers can't help but wonder what she may have been able to accomplish with the advances that have been made for the female athlete since she left college. But she was still able to take the lessons learned from her time as a Golden Bear and apply them to her law career.

"My life would have been so different if some of the progress that we have seen in the last 10-20 years took place when I was younger," Brothers said. "Sports was not a career option for me. But I can't stress enough how important sports are for women. One of the reasons I've had success in a male-dominated profession is all of my years in sports. I understood teamwork. Sports were immeasurable in the value of my career."

Discussion from...

A Perfect Match: Lynda Brothers ('68) Makes Transformational Gift To Cal Athletics

1,970 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by smh
SFCALBear72
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"Brothers' gift will endow scholarships for women's basketball, women's tennis, field hockey, softball, volleyball and women's golf."

This is fantastic news for women's sports at Cal!

Cal's WBB will get a financial boost that will greatly help Coach Smith's recruiting efforts and her management of the program going forward.

Thank you, Lynda!!

Go Bears!!
HoopDreams
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WOW, thank you Lynda!!!

smh
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Can't wait to ask Joan Parker and Lue Lilly about their acquaintance with Ms Brothers.

As most know hereabouts Lue was the first and last Director of Women's Athletics @ Cal, and Joan a former tennis instructor before helping found WA. Much assisted by pioneer Chris Dawson, also known for her service in the conference office. The good old days (not).

https://calbears.com/news/2020/1/16/inside-the-lair-pioneering-a-new-trail.aspx
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