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Andrea Jaeger, who parlayed her winnings on the professional women's tennis tour into a non-profit children's foundation, will lecture Wednesday, April 16, as part of the University of Wyoming Graduate School's Distinguished Speaker Series.
Jaeger will speak at 1 p.m. in the Wyoming Union Family Room. During her one-hour presentation, titled "A Call to Service -- I Will Be There," Jaeger will share her approach to the importance of public service, the fulfillment in helping others and the success of the Little Star Foundation, which she co-founded in 1990 with fellow humanitarian Heidi Bookout.
"Andrea Jaeger is a unique speaker for our distinguished speaker series, as she is an athlete and known worldwide for her achievements in tennis. Her Little Star Foundation is an extraordinary example of what can be done in terms of public service and contributing to the community," says UW Graduate School Dean Don Roth. "University students can learn by and benefit from her example to grow into well-rounded human beings through service to their community."
He adds, "We hope all who attend her lecture will take with them what an extraordinary person Andrea is and be able to apply similar resolve to their own lives."
Jaeger rose to stardom on the women's tennis tour in the early 1980s, winning 12 singles titles and reaching No. 2 in the world rankings before major shoulder injuries forced her into retirement in 1987, at the tender age of 21.
After winning 13 U.S. national junior championships, Jaeger turned pro in 1979 and immediately emerged as a top challenger to Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, the tour's top stars at the time and two of the greatest players in women's tennis history.
In 1980, Jaeger became the youngest player (15 years, 19 days) to be seeded at Wimbledon, a record that would stand for 10 years before being broken by Jennifer Capriati, and the youngest semifinalist in U.S. Open history. She was rewarded with rookie of the year honors.
Three years after her retirement from tennis, Jaeger teamed with Bookout to launch Little Star Foundation, a non-profit organization headquartered in Colorado. The foundation's mission is to change the world for children suffering from cancer and other diseases, neglect and poverty.
Now a Dominican Sister, Jaeger has been described by Oprah Winfrey as a superstar turned superhero. Her list of supporters also includes actors Kevin Costner and Paul Newman, supermodel Cindy Crawford and country music sensation Faith Hill.
"Little Star Foundation's programs have reached thousands of children stricken with disease, neglect and poverty on an annual basis," says Jaeger. "We support and serve as a year-round resource to children, families and health care professionals in hospitals, communities, orphanages and abuse shelters. Our worldwide outreach efforts include the distribution of medical supplies and equipment, food, clothing and educational supplies."
For more information on the Little Star Foundation, go to the Web site at www.littlestar.org.