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Gift Bolsters Women’s Lacrosse Program

Endowed assistant coach position believed to be first of its kind for women’s lacrosse.

The women's lacrosse team huddle together on the field.

A recent gift to Stanford Lacrosse will provide enduring support for the Cardinal, enabling the program to retain and recruit top coaching talent.  

The coaching position has been endowed by Helen and Maurice Werdegar, ’86, MBA ’92. Grace Gavin Kennedy will be the inaugural Werdegar Family Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach.

“We are extremely grateful to the Werdegar family for this gift,” said Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir. “Our lacrosse team has enormous potential and support from the community of Stanford alumni and Cardinal fans makes an immediate impact on the program’s success.”

The Werdegars are longtime supporters of Stanford. After earning dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science at Stanford, Maurice worked in corporate finance, later returning to the Farm to study at the Graduate School of Business. After business school he founded the Blue Chalk Café and Left at Albuquerque chain of restaurants. He is currently chairman of Western Technology Investment, a member of Stanford’s Board of Trustees, and board member of the DAPER Investment Fund. Together, the Werdegars have made previous gifts for the First Generation and/or Low-Income Student Success Center, Bing Auditorium, The Stanford Fund, Stanford Live, and Stanford Athletics.

“Supporting women’s sport is important to us,” said Maurice. “Coming off the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we felt inspired to create a source of lasting funding for the talented student-athletes on the Farm. Danielle has done amazing work with the lacrosse program and we are thrilled to be a part of building for the future.”

Under the direction of Paul A. Violich Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Danielle Spencer, the Cardinal has produced great success in recent seasons. In the last four years, Stanford has an overall record of 36-20, a conference record of 24-5, and two NCAA Tournament appearances. The program has been dominant in the Pac-12, claiming back-to-back conference titles in 2021 and 2022. Great success in recruiting, including securing the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation in 2022, heralds a bright future for the Cardinal.

“We are very grateful for the Werdegars’ generous gift to our program,” said Spencer. “We believe this to be the first of its kind for any women’s lacrosse program, and a great signal of the broad support for women’s athletics at Stanford. Helen and Maurice have done so much for Stanford Athletics and Stanford University, and what a privilege it is to be a part of that.”