Building a Legacy

September 28, 2022

Gustafson Scholarship supports generations of student-athletes

JoAnna Ubiwa, ’10, and Betty Gustafson, W’47

A lifelong friendship between Betty Gustafson, W’47, and Mary Murphy has resulted in ongoing, critical support for Spider students. Endowed in 2005, the Betty A. Gustafson Scholarship provides financial assistance to a student-athlete who aspires to be an educator.

Gustafson, who passed away in 2016, was a student-athlete during her time at Westhampton College, excelling in basketball, tennis, field hockey, and track. During her junior year, she received the Blazer and Seal awards. Students lettering in three or more varsity sports earned the Blazer, while the Seal honored students for exceptional sportsmanship and enthusiasm. Her athletic achievements laid the foundation for a 40-year career as a P.E. teacher and athletic coach for Richmond Public Schools. In 2001, she was inducted into the UR Athletic Hall of Fame.

Though Murphy did not attend the University of Richmond, she felt like part of the Spider community because of her close friendship with Gustafson. “Over the years, I became kind of the class mascot,” she laughed. “They would have these monthly luncheons that I would attend, and I got to know many of Betty’s classmates.”
 
After Gustafson’s Hall of Fame induction, she and Murphy discussed ways to get reconnected and more involved with the University. Murphy established the scholarship to honor Gustafson’s legacy while supporting access and affordability for deserving students. In addition, Murphy and friends of Gustafson gave significant gifts to the Spider Athletics Elevate Campaign that resulted in the naming of the Betty G. Court (Court 1) in the Westhampton Tennis Complex.
 
“We were so excited to meet the student recipients and get to know them,” Murphy said. “We celebrated Betty’s 80th and 90th birthdays with parties at UR and told guests not to bring any gifts, but to consider donating to the scholarship, and we got lots of contributions. Betty and I continued to fund it as well, so over time, the endowment has done very well.”
 
The first recipient of the scholarship, JoAnna Ubiwa, ’10, was a track and field sprinter who majored in psychology and communication studies. She received support from the scholarship for all four undergraduate years. Today, Ubiwa is a licensed clinical professional counselor with an M.S. in counseling psychology from Loyola University and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
 
“What stands out most to me is that [Betty and Mary] paved the way for me to be at UR,” she said. “I could focus on my training while passing my exams, which decreased anxiety and the financial burden on me. We stayed in touch for years after I graduated – they didn’t just give me the scholarship, they cared about me as a person and a friend.”
 
Both Murphy and Gustafson designated portions of their estates to support the Gustafson scholarship. With a combination of planned and deferred gifts to the University, the scholarship will be able to provide critical resources to generations of students, leaving a lasting impact on the Spider community.
 
“We were both invested in helping young people not only become good athletes, but to fully enjoy their Richmond experience,” Murphy said. “Betty and I believed in using our resources to make a difference in their lives – it just made sense to us.”  

When you include a gift to Richmond as part of your legacy, you join generations of Spiders in ensuring that the University and its mission will endure for generations to come. To learn more, contact Rhonda McIlwain, associate director of gift planning, at rhonda.mcilwain@richmond.edu or (804) 287-1864.