The Department of Kinesiology has so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but we would like to humbly extend our gratitude to Dr. JoAnne Safrit. On November 13, Dr. Safrit made a $1 million contribution to the Department of Kinesiology by establishing the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology. The gift was made in honor of her long-time partner Dr. Catherine Ennis. Dr. Ennis, a UNCG alumna and esteemed professor in our department, passed away in April of 2017. We are deeply touched and honored to be the recipient of such enormous generosity bestowed upon us by Dr. JoAnne Safrit.
Dr Safrit, also a UNCG alumna, graduated in 1957 with a degree in Physical Education, and was once the recipient of $1 million dollar gift from a couple when she was a young professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. “It was life-changing for me, “ she recalls, “With that gift, I was able to conduct important, meaningful research because of the generosity of others who had the means to do so. Now that I’m in a position to help, I wanted to give a professor the opportunity to make the next discovery, to advance knowledge in the field that I have dedicated my life to, at the school I love so much.”
The inaugural recipient of the Safrit-Ennis Distinguished Professorship in Kinesiology has been awarded to Dr. Laurie Wideman, whose research focuses on the impact of exercise, disease and injury on the endocrine system. The professorship will help to cover the cost of Dr. Wideman’s research. Thank you, Dr. Safrit, for your generosity, you are a model to us all.