Lincoln -- The University of Nebraska Athletic Department selected Betty Geis as the recipient of the 2003 Trailblazer Award for outstanding contribution to women’s athletics. Geis was presented with the award on April 19, 2003, during a ceremony before the Nebraska softball team’s game against Oklahoma State at Bowlin Stadium.
"We are proud to name Betty Geis the 2003 Trailblazer Award winner," Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson said. "The Geis family has been in the hearts and minds of the University of Nebraska Athletic Department. Betty's courage, commitment and generosity have set a special standard in support of our women's athletic program."
In September of 2001, Betty Geis helped to create a memorial scholarship in the name of her late daughter, Julie Geis. A four-year letterwinner for the Huskers from 1976 to 1979, Julie Geis was a victim of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. During the tragedy, Geis was on the 105th floor of the south tower, where she was working during a week-long trip to New York for the downtown Kansas City-based office of Aon Consulting, Inc. A native of Beaver Crossing, Neb., Geis earned a bachelor of science degree in education, a master's degree in educational psychology and a Ph.D. in educational administration. The Nebraska softball team retired Geis' jersey on Oct. 12, 2001.
"It is absolutely phenomenal to have the Geis family not only think about endowing a scholarship in Julie's name, but to be so active in fundraising for the scholarship when the heartbreak of September 11th is still fresh in their lives," Revelle said. "It truly reveals the character of the entire family. They are wonderful people, and it starts at the very top with Betty and Paul Geis and works right on down the line. Nebraska softball is extremely fortunate to have friends and partners in the Geis family."
After nearly a year of fundraising, $55,000 has been raised for the Julie Geis Memorial Scholarship, and $200,000 is needed to fully endow the scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Nebraska softball player who has lived in Nebraska for at least 12 years, owns at least a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average, and demonstrates commitment to serving as a role model on and off the field.
The first recipient was senior shortstop Amanda Buchholz, a 2002 First-Team Academic All-Big 12 selection and a 2003 co-captain.
"When Steve Pederson called me, I told him that I didn't really feel qualified to win this award," Geis said. "But I know that Julie would have been really proud, and I think she would agree that Amanda Buchholz was a wonderful choice for the first scholarship. Amanda is a beautiful person, and she reminds me so much of Julie in every way."
Betty Geis is the fourth recipient of the Trailblazer Award, which was created in 2000 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Nebraska women's athletics. Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Dr. Barbara Hibner, widely recognized for her support of the progress and advancement of women's athletics at Nebraska and throughout the nation, was honored with the first award in April of 2000. Other past honorees include Dana and Melanie Raimondi (2001) and Ione Bowlin (2002).
To contribute to the Julie Geis Memorial Scholarship fund, please contact the Nebraska Athletic Development Office at (402) 472-2367.