Early last week, UR alumna, icon, and pioneer and hero for female sportswriters and reporters across America passed away at the age of 91.
Born in 1921, Jean Giambrone made history in 1967 as the first woman awarded full press credentials at The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.
Far before she broke out into the national scene, however, this Rochester native was already beginning to forge the path for women in sports writing.
While an undergraduate, Giambrone developed an active interest in writing and journalism, particularly in sportswriting.
A sports writer and eventually a sports editor for Tower Times (a predecessor to Campus Times), Giambrone sought to expand coverage of women’s sports at a time when both sportswriting, and the world of sports itself, were largely male-dominated fields.
Outside of the classroom, Giambrone became involved in the Women’s Athletic Association on campus and was a member of both the golf and bowling teams, winning multiple titles in both sports.
As a sophomore, Giambrone alerted the sports editor of the Democrat and Chronicle of her desire to increase coverage for female athletes. Soon after, Giambrone was hired to cover women’s sports, a job that she worked part-time for the remainder of her time at UR.
Upon graduating, Giambrone decided to forgo pursuing a career at General Motors in lieu of a job writing news stories for the Rochester Times-Union (now part of the Democrat and Chronicle).
Almost four years after accepting her job writing news stories for Times-Union, Giambrone transitioned back to sportswriting part-time while taking time to focus on her family.
It wasn’t until many years later that Giambrone began writing more extensively, focusing mostly on high school women’s sports, specifically stories about golf and bowling. Over the next several decades Giambrone continued to consistently write for Times-Union, promoting the coverage of women’s sports in the Rochester area.
These years were punctuated by various accomplishments ranging from her breakthrough into the previously male-exclusive reporting of The Masters golf tournament to the establishment of programs that help recognize successful female athletes.
Upon her retirement, the true reach and effect of Giambrone and her writing were highlighted by the assortment of letters she received from female athletes and golf legends such as Arnold Palmer who thanked her for her work and her contributions to the field.
“Jean Giambrone is a stellar example of how women broke through barriers to pursue careers of passion while juggling family commitment,” director of the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership Catherine Cerulli said. “She was a risk taker and an excellent role model for young men and women considering their career and family paths.”
Long past her retirement, Giambrone continued to support female athletes and women in sportswriting.
The legacy that Jean Giambrone leaves behind is one that not only defines her as a catalyst for the advancement of women in sports, but also, a legacy that transcends time, continuing to empower female sports writers and athletes around the world to become ever better.
Shinseki is a member of
the class of 2015.