Pioneer in women’s sports provides naming gift for new Jewell building


Carlene and Chris Chrisman portraitWilliam Jewell College received a substantial gift that will be recognized with the naming of a new building. Donors Carlene (Basore) Chrisman, a 1967 Jewell alumna, and her husband, Chris, made the largest gift by an individual to The Link Project in honor of Carlene’s legacy as a pioneer in women’s sports at Jewell and across the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

The announcement came today during a campus visit by the Colorado couple. The gift will be applied to the construction of Carlene Basore Chrisman Center, formerly referred to as The Link Building.

“Even before I was a student at Jewell, the athletic director committed to helping and allowing me to pursue my goals in tennis, limited only by my own capabilities and determination. He and William Jewell College and my classmates stood behind that commitment, and I benefitted greatly,” said Carlene Chrisman. “Over a lifetime I have witnessed how important the connection between mind and body has been for me. Physical activity—many times, tennis—is very important for my physical and mental well-being. My mind and body serve me as a team. The purpose of this building is to provide an opportunity for that link for all members of the college family and the community.”

In spring 2024, crews will complete phase one of the project with a new campus entrance road, walkways, terraces, amphitheater stadium, parking lots and underground utilities. Phase two, which includes construction of Carlene Basore Chrisman Center, will start when fundraising is completed. Built adjacent to the stadium, the multi-use facility will feature an indoor arena, classrooms, social spaces, student fitness center, offices and locker rooms.

“This historic gift represents an important milestone for the In Pursuit capital campaign and continues the momentum of alumni and the community investing in the next generation of Jewell students,” said Steve Karbank, Campaign Cabinet Chair and Jewell Trustee. “Carlene’s legacy is quintessential to the Jewell experience, and we are proud to have her name forever associated with the development of mind and body on the Jewell campus.”

Carlene (Basore) Chrisman, ’67, was a true pioneer in women’s sports. Nearly a decade before collegiate women’s sports attained varsity status, Chrisman played for the Jewell men’s tennis team after being denied the same opportunity at another school in Jewell’s conference. She won four varsity letters on the men’s team, played No. 1 for three years and was voted team captain as a senior. Each spring while at Jewell, she competed in the Missouri Valley Collegiate Women’s Tournament that included players from all levels of colleges and universities in a six-state area, becoming a four-time champion.

Because of Chrisman, the NAIA rewrote its rules on female participation in male sports. She was the first female inductee in Jewell’s Athletic Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1994 and an inductee at University of Denver, where she launched the women’s tennis program that qualified for nationals. Chrisman is a retired math teacher and tennis coach and resides in Colorado and Arizona.

In Pursuit Campaign Update

With this gift, Jewell has raised $88 million of the $100 million goal for the largest capital campaign in College history.

> To see the people, places and programs benefitting from this campaign and how you can support these projects, visit In Pursuit.

> View renderings and construction updates for The Link Project.