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University News | Distinguished Speaker Series

WNBA Hall of Fame Member, Mental Health Activist Chamique Holdsclaw Makes Public Presentation at UCM Nov. 15

By Jeff Murphy, October 18, 2023


Award-winning  athlete and emotional health and wellness activist  Chamique Holdsclaw will speak at the University of Central Missouri in November.

WARRENSBURG, MO – From high school and college basketball stardom to Olympic gold medalist and member of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Hall of Fame, Chamique Holdsclaw has an inspiring story to share. Her powerful story and example is an inspiration to others dealing with personal struggles to manage mental health issues such as depression. She will talk about her role as an emotional health activist and an athlete when she makes a free, public presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15 in Hendricks Hall at the University of Central Missouri.

Holdsclaw’s remarks are a continuation of the Distinguished Speaker Series at UCM that began in 2022 as a way to inform and enlighten campus members and the local community on a broad range of contemporary and societal issues through presentations by nationally known speakers who can share their personal experiences and expertise. The series is coordinated by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and all interested individuals are invited to attend.

“We are looking forward to hosting Ms. Holdsclaw on campus. She is well known for her leadership in athletics and promoting opportunities for others to be successful in whatever they may choose to do. She will inspire greater courage to discuss the topic of mental health and the challenges we face as a society in supporting each other during times of adversity,” said Phil Bridgmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UCM.

Born in Queens, New York, Holdsclaw was a standout basketball player at Christ the King High School, and was awarded a full athletic scholarship to play collegiately for legendary Hall of Fame Coach Pat Summit and the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Holdsclaw contributed to the Lady Volunteers’ reputation as women’s basketball powerhouse helping the team to become the first in women’s collegiate basketball to win three straight NCAA Championships. In the process, she captured several All-America honors and many other awards.

Holdsclaw’s success in college athletics propelled her to the professional level, becoming the #1 pick in  the 1999 WNBA draft, selected to play for the Washington Mystics. Maintaining the same greatness on the court that she exhibited in college, she capped off her first season with a WNBA Rookie of the Year Award, and the first of six appearances as a WNBA All-Star. In 2000, she won an Olympic Gold Medal playing for Team USA in the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia.

In addition to her success in athletics, Holdsclaw has dedicated her life to mental health and wellness activism. Most recently, she has spent time speaking at conferences, and participating on panels and events related to mental health issues. She shares information about her personal struggles with depression, which are depicted in the riveting documentary “Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw.” This work describes how she sought help and managed her own mental health.

Holdsclaw is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and is an ambassador with the JED Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to protects emotional health and prevent suicide for the nation’s teens and young adults.


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