Hollins Mourns Loss Of Icon

Hollins Mourns Loss Of Icon

Roanoke, VA - The entire Hollins community, especially her athletic department, was saddened at the news of the passing of Marjorie Berkley. "Berk", as she was affectionately known, was an icon and a pioneer in women's collegiate athletics. A member of two different Halls of Fame (Hollins and James Madison), Berkley dedicated her life to the growth, visibility, and opportunities for females in intercollegiate athletics.

Current Hollins Athletic Director Bill Mannino echoed the thoughts of the Hollins community. "Miss Berkley transcended all things; coach, leader, and friend.  Her efforts propelled women's athletics and made Hollins a winner.  Her players loved and respected her while her impact on their lives is immeasurable.  This is a sad time for Hollins athletics."

A 1995 inductee to the Hollins University Hall of Fame, Berkley served the University for over 30 years. During her time at Hollins (1959-1989), she held many roles including professor emeritus and director of athletics, and she was the first associate commissioner of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.  She coached four undefeated field hockey teams at Hollins in 1963, 1975, 1976, and 1977.  In 1979, the field hockey team won the VAIAW Field Hockey Championship.

Berkley served as Director of Championships for the United States Women's Lacrosse Association and the Director of the AIAW National Division III Field Hockey Championship. She was inducted into the James Madison Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.

The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) began sponsoring women's athletics in 1982-83. Joining the men's top student-athlete accolade known as the Harry G. "Doc" Jopson Award, the Marjorie Berkley Award honors the most outstanding female student-athlete in regards to several criteria including athletic performance, academic prowess, leadership, and civic engagement.

"The Old Dominion Athletic Conference has lost a gem with Marjorie Berkley's passing," expressed ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. "Ms. Berkley's contributions to the schools she served remain today. Her influence on women's athletics in the early years helped the conference form its core identity of embracing all sports equally and incorporating women's athletics in the ODAC following the move to the NCAA in the early 1980s. She was the first associate commissioner in the conference and helped the league better conduct its business in those formative years. The conference's top female student-athlete award is named in Ms. Berkley's honor - an appropriate recognition for her superlative service to the ODAC and Division III athletics during her professional career. Personally, Berk was a champion for the ODAC and proudly supported its activities and championships after her professional career was complete. The Conference has a lost a true fan in her passing."

A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations to the American Heart Association.

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