A scholarship benefit dinner featuring former Lady Vol and WNBA standout Tamika Catchings brought in a total of $83,000 for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s (UTHSC) Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology. The event, which was attended by more than 300 people, took place at The Foundry on the World’s Fair Site in Knoxville. Catchings donated $50,000, while the event brought in $33,000.
A basketball camp, which will be instructed by Catchings, was bid on for $8,000 by Lady Vols Head Coach Holly Warlick and UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson. The “Voice of the Lady Vols,” Mickey Dearstone, served as the master of ceremonies.
Student athletes from the Knoxville area participated in the night as well. Two sponsors were kind enough to donate their tables to the athletes from Vine Middle School and Bearden Middle School so they could enjoy the evening and hear Catchings’ inspiring message.
Catchings, a former UT Lady Vols Basketball standout, 16-year WNBA Indiana Fever player, and four-time USA Basketball Olympic gold medalist shared her inspiring story of playing sports while dealing with hearing loss and the important role UTHSC’s Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology played in her life. She is currently the director of Player Programs and Franchise Development with Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
“We are overwhelmed by Tamika’s generosity and her desire to give back to our department, our students, and the patients we serve,” said Julie Beeler, MA, CCC-A/SLP, program liaison for the UTHSC Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology. “She’s an excellent ambassador for the university. Her testimony of her personal journey with hearing loss and her challenge to attendees to ‘Dream BIG,’ Believe, Inspire, and seek Greatness, deeply touched everyone there.”
Proceeds from the event will be divided evenly with half going into the Tamika Catchings Endowed Scholarship Fund and half into the Tamika Catchings Amplification Assistance Fund. The Amplification Assistance Fund will help qualified individuals with such things as new hearing aids, repairs to broken equipment and replacement parts.