Our Stories  

 Melanie Hennis '87

Former track star supports new generation of female athletes

It was the summer of '84, when Melanie Hennis made UTSA history by becoming the first female to compete at the cross country national championships. Now at age 55, Hennis is making headlines again.

Hennis, who graduated with a bachelor's of science degree in education recently made plans to establish a $450,000 scholarship at her alma mater. She decided to do this as she was preparing her will and estate plans. Her legacy at UTSA will include the Melanie Hennis Track and Field Endowed Scholarship, which will help new generations of female track and field athletes at UTSA.

"I woke up one day and felt inspired to help," said Hennis, owner of Sage Social Services, a counseling clinic with several therapy animals. "Looking back, the sport really helped me develop skills—it taught me mental toughness and determination, and I wanted to provide resources for current students."

For Hennis, her interest in the sport first began while a student at Jourdanton High School. She then enrolled at UTSA where she joined the inaugural women's track and field team. It was there that she became the first female to make to make it to the NCAA Division I Cross Country Nationals. Although she didn't take top honors—coming in at 96th place— Hennis credits her time at UTSA for instilling in her the drive to succeed.

"As an athlete you really learn how to stay focus and be driven," said Hennis, who through her gift hopes to motivate a new generation of female athletes at UTSA. "Being a part of the track team at UTSA really taught me that 'I can do this'."

With college tuition and expenses on the rise, Carla works part-time on campus and relies heavily on scholarship support. So far she's managed to make her way through college debt free thanks in part to donor support.

-Yvonne Zamora Byrd

 

UTSA's Gift Planning office can help you pledge support to UTSA in a way that will not cost you now but will have a lasting impact on UTSA and its students. If you would like your legacy to include UTSA, please contact Kim West at kimberly.west@utsa.edu or (210) 458-7307.