My name is Lauren Solernou and as a former Lady Vol Swimmer at the University of Tennessee, I am heart broken over the decision for the removal of the Lady Volunteer logo and the Lady Vol Hall of Fame. My wish is for the university and athletic department take into consideration what this logo has done for me and how it has positively impacted all those who have donned the prestigious name.
I chose to attend the University of Tennessee for many reasons but the main factor came after meeting with former women’s athletic director, Joan Cronan. She spoke from the heart about what it meant to be a Lady Volunteer. The stories of tradition, excellence and moral standards that have been created and built by not only Pat Summitt but also ALL women’s athletic sports at UT spoke to me during my recruiting trip. I was drawn to the common respect for both men and women’s identities in athletics and how the Lady Volunteer brand has inspired so many young female athletes to chase their dreams. Right then and there, I knew being apart of this legacy was something that was empowering. It was not only going to make me a better student-athlete but a better human being.
By rebranding and taking away the Hall of Fame, you are taking away the aspirations of young girls and those who compete for the University. I believe Pat Summitt’s goal in creating the Lady Vol brand was not to just make a name for her basketball program, but for all women in sports. I was fortunate enough to be apart of two of the three winning national championship relays in 2013; the first in history of our Lady Vol swim and dive program. It was a continuous dream to be inducted into the Lady Vol Hall of Fame as a Lady Volunteer with the other greats but now that dream will no longer be seen.
All women’s sports at UT have put in countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears, in and out of the pool, field or court to uphold the name, not just basketball. Look at what this brand has done for our University as a whole and please reconsider keeping the Lady Vol logo and Hall of Fame.
Thank you for your time,
Lauren Solernou, LVFL