The Legacy of Arthur Ashe: 50 Years Later
About Our Campaign
Arthur Ashe, the barrier-breaking tennis champion and human rights activist, is one of UCLA’s most accomplished alumni. Last fall, the Arthur Ashe Learning Center entrusted UCLA to raise awareness of Ashe’s legacy. Now, UCLA needs your help in promoting Arthur’s values of service, scholarship, and sportsmanship to new generations of Bruins and members of the community.
In recognition of the 50 years since Ashe’s US Open championship victory, we are seeking at least 50 individuals to join us in preserving and documenting Ashe’s legacy by making a donation of any size. If this goal is achieved, $25,000 will be donated to the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund at UCLA.
Preserving the Legacy of Arthur Ashe
Using pre-existing funding and new gifts from donors like you, UCLA will establish a permanent home for the Arthur Ashe legacy. Below are some examples of how your gift can impact this important work.
Donations of all sizes are needed and welcomed. Your gift will be used to create physical and digital exhibitions of Ashe’s humanitarian and athletic accomplishments, or to host public events in Los Angeles and around the country. Your support will help UCLA faculty and historians to develop academic events which will explore Ashe’s life and connect his ultimate legacy to the realities faced by current students and community members.
Why Give Today?
On September 8, 1968 at the West Side Tennis Club in Queens, New York, Arthur Ashe defeated Tom Okker of the Netherlands in five sets. He made history by becoming the first African American male to win the U.S. Open men's singles title, and also the first to win the tournament in the Open Era.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Ashe's accomplishment and provides an incredibly meaningful time to demonstrate your support, and gives us many opportunities to celebrate your gift.
Check out some of the exclusive perks and experiences available only to donors who support the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund during the US Open.
For a limited time only, your gift can make a dual impact on cementing Ashe’s legacy. Not only will your donation aid UCLA in developing exhibits and lectures, but your contribution of any size will help to unlock $25,000 for the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund. Recipients of this prestigious award exemplify Ashe’s finest characteristics, including his strong history of community service leadership, participation in extracurricular activities, and his unwavering good character.
US Open Booth
Each year over 40 UCLA alumni and friends volunteer their time during the US Open to staff the Arthur Ashe Legacy booth. This year from August 27-September 9, the booth will provide event attendees the opportunity to purchase merchandise with all sales proceeds going to support UCLAs Arthur Ashe legacy fund. Also available at the booth are educational opportunities through stories, brochures, and historical coloring books. For many that attend the US Open this is their first exposure to the work UCLA is doing to honor and remember Arthur Ashe. Often this leads to connections, new philanthropic support and growth of the community in support of how Arthur's legacy can continue to make an impact.
A Very Brief History of Arthur Ashe
The recipient of a fully funded tennis scholarship, Ashe captained his team to an NCAA championship and won the NCAA singles title, both in 1965. A year later, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and went on to West Point, where he reached the rank of second lieutenant in the Army. Ashe would go on to win more than 50 professional tennis titles, including three Grand Slams, and was the first African-American man to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.
Both during and after his playing career, Ashe worked to raise awareness for many issues, including protesting apartheid in South Africa, the U.S. policy toward Haitian refugees, and health care deficiencies in urban minority communities. He also served as spokesman for the American Heart Association. Recognizing how after-school sports could teach life lessons and improve long-term educational attainment, he helped establish multiple tennis and education programs throughout the country. He used his celebrity status to advocate for mentoring, for accountability in educational outcomes and to inform the public about AIDS.
A highly respected and sought after public intellectual, he wrote numerous essays and several books, including the acclaimed “A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African American Athlete,” in addition to teaching at Florida Memorial College. At UCLA, the Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center was named in his honor in 1997.