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SKILLMAN, N.J. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) held a kick-off dinner for the ITA Endowment Fund Campaign at The Standard Club in downtown Chicago on Friday, November 14, 2008. Well-known Chicago tennis leaders Bill Dutton, Alan Schwartz and Jon Vegosen, and their wives, hosted the evening.

The goal of the Endowment Campaign is to raise additional funding for the ITA to maintain its existing collegiate tennis programs as well as expand its activities. In past years, corporate sponsorships and USTA grants have provided nearly half of the ITA’s operating funds. However, dramatic reductions in these sources in recent years have necessitated the creation of the ITA Endowment Fund to help secure the future of college tennis.

Approximately 50 guests were in attendance. Stan Smith (US Open and Wimbledon Champion, former No. 1 in the world and NCAA Champion at USC) and his wife, Margie (captain of the first women’s varsity tennis team at Princeton), Co-Chairs of the ITA Endowment Fund Campaign, were special guests of the kick-off dinner, while Stan served as the key-note speaker. David A Benjamin, Executive Director of the ITA, and Jerry Noyce, Director of the ITA Endowment Fund Campaign, also made presentations, as did Jon Vegosen, incoming First Vice President of the USTA.

The kick-off dinner featured a silent auction that offered up such items a One-Hour Hit-Session with Legendary Stan Smith at the 2009 U.S. Open, two sets of courtside seats for two during the first week of the 2009 U.S. Open and a 2009 U.S. Open Finals Weekend Extravaganza (which includes a coveted invitation to the President's Box) for the winning bidders.

The ITA, a 501c(3) entity, serves as the governing body of college tennis and the collective voice for men’s and women’s varsity college tennis coaches and student athletes across the nation. The association serves over 15,000 men and women college varsity tennis players and 1,500 men and women college tennis coaches from member institutions in NCAA Divisions I, II, III, NAIA and Junior/Community colleges. The ITA’s activities include sponsorship of 10 national championships, the sanctioning of over 200 collegiate tournaments, the administering of a comprehensive ranking system for all levels of varsity competition, and the awarding of a wide range of honors for student athletes, coaches and alumni.


***Chicago Kick-off Dinner Photo Gallery***
(photos by Steve Starr)