Posted: February 19, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh University head women’s basketball coach Sue Troyan was joined by Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan as well as representatives from St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network, the Bethlehem Area School District and the Patriot League as they gathered at Hotel Bethlehem on Thursday, February 19 for an announcement regarding the 2009 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament, scheduled for March 7-8 at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena.
The announcement detailed the partnership between St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network, Lehigh University Athletics and the Bethlehem Area School District with the 2009 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament.
“We are very pleased that Lehigh University will serve as host for the 2009 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament,” explained Carolyn Schlie Femovich, the Executive Director of the Patriot League. “We are confident that Lehigh and the city of Bethlehem will be excellent hosts. The city will provide a hospitable and entertaining setting that all fans from across the Patriot League can enjoy.
She continued, “The Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament will showcase the best that college athletics have to offer as our scholar-athletes perform at the highest levels, both in the arena and in the classroom. We are proud of what the Patriot League represents, and I know that this will be an outstanding experience for the League and the surrounding communities.”
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan was on hand along with Easton Mayor Sal Panto, and together they declared the first day of the Tournament, Saturday, March 7, to be Patriot League Women’s Basketball Day. Callahan offered his thoughts. “We are proud to be the host community for this exciting event and look forward to welcoming visitors from across the mid-Atlantic to Bethlehem. Go Lehigh!”
Members of the Lehigh University Women’s Basketball program have long been involved in numerous community service initiatives, including visiting the pediatric ward at St. Luke’s hospital the last several years. As head coach Sue Troyan explains, it’s a large part of their responsibility as role models to give back to the community. “The young ladies in our program understand the importance of giving back to the community that they are a part of. We have a longstanding relationship with St. Luke’s and have really enjoyed spending time with the children there during our visits.
She continued, “We are all very excited that St. Luke’s is sponsoring this year’s Patriot League Tournament. Along with the involvement of the Bethlehem Area School District, this is going to be a wonderful event to showcase the Patriot League and its student-athletes along with the city of Bethlehem and we hope that many people from the area will come out to experience it.”
During the opening day of the tournament, St. Luke’s will sponsor various health stations throughout Stabler Arena for fans to take part in. It’s one of many ways St. Luke’s is showing support for the Patriot League Tournament.
“St. Luke’s and Lehigh University each have a long tradition and proven record of community service,” explained Sue Schantz, Vice President of Corporate Communications for St. Luke’s. “By combining our resources and expertise, we are able to provide what we hope will be a meaningful and long-lasting learning experience for these students outside the traditional classroom.”
More than 400 students from area middle schools will be attending the tournament in March. It’s an opportunity for the students to show support for the positive role models participating from the eight Patriot League institutions, including student-athletes from Lehigh’s award-winning C.O.A.C.H. Program (community outreach). Students from the C.O.A.C.H. Program have been traveling to local elementary and middle schools for the last decade, speaking to students regarding education, responsibility, leadership and passion among other topics.
Jackie Santanasto is the Principal of Bethlehem’s Nitschmann Middle School and is excited that the tournament will provide an avenue to connect the middle school students with student-athletes from Lehigh and the Patriot League. “The opportunity to be a part of the Patriot League Women’s Tournament is yet another example of the valuable connection we’ve had with Lehigh University’s C.O.A.C.H. program the last eight years. The student athletes at Lehigh serve as excellent role models for our middle school students because they understand the value of respect, responsibility and education, which are the values we instill in our students on a daily basis.”
St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network is a nationally recognized, regional, integrated network of non-profit hospitals, physicians and other health-related organizations providing care primarily in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania. St. Luke’s strives to provide compassionate, excellent quality and cost-effective health care to the residents of the communities we serve. The network includes four hospitals encompassing 734 licensed beds, more than 44,800 annual admissions, 1,200 physicians, 6,800 employees and 1,000 volunteers.
The Bethlehem Area School District is the sixth largest school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Located in the heart of the Lehigh Valley, it covers approximately 40.4 square miles and is comprised of five municipalities: City of Bethlehem, Boroughs of Fountain Hill and Freemansburg, and Bethlehem and Hanover Township. The district has 22 schools (16 elementary, 4 middle and 2 high schools), 2 academies, 1 prekindergarten center, 1 vocational-technical school, 4 auxiliary buildings, and 1 stadium complex with a capacity of 12,588.
“Today’s Scholar-Athletes, Tomorrow’s Leaders” – The Patriot League continually demonstrates that student-athletes can excel at both academics and athletics without sacrificing its high standards. The Patriot League’s athletic success is achieved while its member institutions remain committed to its founding principle of admitting and graduating student-athletes that are academically representative of their class. Participation in athletics at Patriot League institutions is viewed as an important component of a well-rounded education.
Watch the full press conference!