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Sixth Annual Mary Jennings Softball Tournament Scheduled for Saturday, April 14


SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - The sixth annual Mary Jennings Softball Tournament will be held in memory of women's soccer player Mary Jennings on Saturday, April 14. Games will begin at 9 a.m. at Ivy Hill Park, home of the Seton Hall softball team.
Mary Jennings, who many knew as "MJ," was a Seton Hall women's soccer player who played two seasons at the Hall from 2004-05, missing her freshman year with a torn ACL.
Jennings was also a dean's list student every semester. With the dream of becoming a high school history teacher, Jennings would have graduated in 2007 with a degree in secondary education and history. In June of 2006, however, Jennings, who was just 21 years old, lost her battle with cancer.
"Going into her final semester, when she passed away, her classmates were devastated by how quickly everything happened," Manina Urgolo Huckvale, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education and Human Services, said. "The following semester, Dr. Daniel Katz and I met with the students because they truly wanted to keep Mary's memory alive. They thought the best way to do so was to endow a scholarship."
With the aid of the annual softball tournament, fashion shows, pasta dinners, silent auctions and more, students were able to raise $30,000 in six months, which a benefactor matched with another $30,000 to establish a memorial scholarship in loving memory of Mary Jennings. Huckvale said the College of Education and Human Services was able to offer a scholarship the following year after the loss of Jennings, and has since given a scholarship of $2,000- $4,000 every year.
Each year, the scholarship is awarded to a student who embodies the spirit of life and learning that Jennings exhibited. The recipient must be enrolled full-time in the College of Education & Human Services, participate in sports, demonstrate financial need and academic merit.
"The softball tournament has been the one lasting event every year that still raises money for the scholarship," Huckvale said.
There are three ways to benefit the scholarship fund and get involved in this year's tournament. If you are a member of the Seton Hall community-an employee, student, or alum-you can register a team to play. There must be 10-16 players per team. The tournament will consist of 16 teams, and feature a double elimination format. Those interested in playing are encouraged to sign-up by Wednesday, April 11.
Another fund raising option is the ability to sponsor one of the tournament's three playing fields, at the cost of $100 per field. Donations in the form of prizes, such as gift cards, apparel, sporting goods, etc., are also accepted.
Jennings was a beloved friend and teammate who brought so much enthusiasm not only to her life, but also the lives of others. In the time she spent at Seton Hall, many had the opportunity to get to know her. Those who were friends with Jennings knew that she was going to make an impact in others' lives with immeasurable love, knowledge and laughter.
Amanda DiDnoato, Associate Director of Academic Support Services for Student-Athletes, who was also a friend and teammate of Jennings, said, "I think it's great that this is the one solid thing that keeps on giving back to the Mary Jennings Memorial Scholarship Fund. That's important, and I also think this can bring student-athletes together. I think it's important to unite behind a cause, any cause; she was one of our own, so it's nice to commemorate her."
All monetary donations will go directly to the Mary Jennings Memorial Scholarship. For more information on the sixth annual Mary Jennings Softball Tournament, contact Melanie Calderwood at 973-761-9187 or melanie.calderwood@shu.edu.