BERKELEY (AP) — Former major league infielder Jeff Kent is giving back to women’s athletics at his former school, the University of California.
Kent is donating $531,000, with an additional $100,000 in matching funds, to female student-athletes at Cal through the newly created Jeff Kent Women Driven Scholarship Endowment.
Cal will formally announce Kent’s contributions Monday. The fully endowed scholarship will continue indefinitely and provide one full scholarship each year for a women’s athlete chosen from soccer, softball, tennis, track or cross country — with the preference going to a non-recruited student-athlete with a minimum 2.8 GPA, an interest in community service or mentoring, and someone who has demonstrated financial need, the school said.
Cal will recognize the 46-year-old Kent for his generosity and commitment to Cal during halftime of the Golden Bears’ football game against Colorado on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Kent and his wife, Dana, created the Women Driven fund with the San Francisco Giants in 1998 that built funds for his current contribution. Kent committed $500 for each run he drove in and received corporate matching funds, raising more than $115,000 toward the scholarships in the first year and more than $600,000 during his six seasons with the Giants.
“It was the goal from day one of the original Women Driven program to create an endowed scholarship,” Kentsaid in a statement. “Having the opportunity to get an education at Cal can make a profound difference in life. I know how much I benefited. Everybody should have a shot, and this is my chance to ensure others have their shot.”
Kent, the 2000 NL MVP, approached Cal with the idea. Not only does Kent have a daughter of his own, he was a walk-on athlete at Cal with a partial scholarship before receiving a full-scholarship by his last year.
“It’s not every day you get a phone call from a former Golden Bear and professional athlete who says he wants to endow an athletic scholarship, let alone for a male athlete to be such an outspoken champion of women’s athletics,” interim Athletic Director Michael Williams said. “Supporting 30 sports programs at Cal is a challenge and he is making a significant difference for female student-athletes in five of those programs, differences that will have an impact throughout the rest of their lives.”
Kent was a three-year starting shortstop for Cal from 1987-89. He went on to play 17 seasons in the big leagues, retiring after the 2008 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. A five-time All-Star, he was a career .290 hitter with 377 home runs and 1,518 RBIs.