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The David K. Wiggins Endowment for Scholarships

Honoring a legacy by making a difference

As a college student in the late 1960s and the ’70s, Dave Wiggins became inspired by the Black protest movement and civil rights struggle.

The now-retired Mason professor was especially influenced in those days by the work of Harry Edwards, a sociology professor who organized the Olympic Project for Human Rights that proposed a black boycott of the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. At that Olympics, U.S. sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos gave the black power salute from the medal stand.

Wiggins was the first person that Lonnie Bunch, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, called for advice as a consultant when the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture was planning its sport gallery.

Wiggins, a standout multi-sport athlete himself, came to the powerful conclusion that one couldn’t write about the history of American sport without writing about race. This realization made a tremendous impact on his career and allowed him to reach so many others.

Wiggins spent 28 productive years on the Mason faculty and authored or edited 20 books, primarily on race and sport, to cement a legacy as one of the world’s best-regarded sports historians and as someone who could successfully bridge the field to other areas within the humanities.

New scholarships for our talented and driven School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management students in Dave’s honor will do even more to carry his ambitious life’s work forward, helping to empower a new generation and to give them voice.

Mason’s connection with Dave

Dave Wiggins called his move to join the School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management (SRTM) faculty at Mason the best career move he ever made. Mason’s proximity to D.C. was extremely beneficial, and its academic climate always emphasized interdisciplinary work and faculty camaraderie.

Mason has also served as a very important part of Dave’s family’s life. His wife, Brenda Wiggins, continues to serve Mason as a professor and leader in SRTM’s Recreation Management program, and their son, Spencer, played on the Patriots’ baseball team. Mason has been home and continues to be home to people he knows and loves.

How the endowment will impact students’ lives

SRTM is developing future professionals in sport management and communication, tourism and events management, therapeutic recreation, recreation management, and parks and outdoor recreation.

This scholarship in Dave’s honor will support promising students in the school’s three undergraduate degree programs (Sport Management, Tourism and Events Management, and Recreation Management) as well as our master’s in Sport and Recreation program studies.

Our graduates include difference makers in a variety of industries. Sport management alumna Callie Brownson (’16) is the first female chief of staff in NFL history with the Cleveland Browns and became the first woman to coach a position group in an NFL game during the 2020 season. Recreation management grad Sarah Miron (‘18) is one of two law enforcement officers for the U.S. Forest Service in Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Jennifer Ice (’14), who studied both sport management and tourism and events management at Mason, is a senior manager for hospitality events for the New York Mets.

Please make your contribution to the David K. Wiggins Endowed Fund for Scholarships and join Dr. Wiggins and others who are providing scholarship support for students pursuing a degree in the School of Sport, Recreation and Tourism Management.