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Utah Athletics receives $6 million donation for women’s programs

University of Utah volleyball coach Beth Launiere talks to the team as Utah takes on USU, Sept. 17, 2016, in Salt Lake City.
University of Utah volleyball coach Beth Launiere talks to the team as Utah takes on USU, Sept. 17, 2016, in Salt Lake City.
Steve C. Wilson, Steve C. Wilson

SALT LAKE CITY — Two of the most ardent supporters of women’s athletics at the University of Utah will be gifting a large sum of money that will go toward supporting both the women’s NCAA-sanctioned and club sports teams at the school.

On Thursday, the Ute athletic department announced that Leo and Harriet Hopf will give $6 million, 80% of which will go to the women’s basketball and volleyball teams, as well as the Utes with Wings program, “which was established in 2018 to create more opportunities, as well as a community of support, for the U’s female student-athletes.”

The other 20% will go to support women’s club sports at the university.

”We are incredibly grateful for the passionate support Harriet and Leo provide to Utah Athletics, and our women’s sports programs in particular,” university athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “The impact their support has made on our student-athletes is profound. The enormity of their planned gift will ensure future generations of students in our women’s sports programs the most enriching experience possible and continue to elevate Utah Athletics.”

The Hopfs will be recognized for their longtime support during a halftime tribute at the women’s basketball game vs. Oregon State as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Saturday.

Leo Hopf is a noted business innovator, while Harriet Hopf is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the university. They are known for supporting Ute teams both at home and on the road.

”Harriet and Leo are incredible ambassadors for Utah Women’s Athletics,” head women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts said in a statement. “They have been faithful and passionate supporters of our program — from cheering loudly on the sidelines, to sending encouraging notes to coaches, to taking professional photographs of the action during games. They epitomize what it means to genuinely and sincerely support. This incredibly generous gift to our women’s athletic programs at the University of Utah just continues to shine a bright light on what amazing people the Hopfs truly are. We are beyond grateful.”