McMurry University holds 10th Women’s Leadership Luncheon featuring Sheryl Swoopes


On March 23, 2023 McMurry University held its 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Luncheon with guest speaker Sheryl Swoopes, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star often known as the “female Michael Jordan”. The event took place in the Kimbrell Arena, and all proceeds from the event benefitted the Dr. Sandra S. Harper Women’s Leadership Scholarship at McMurry. 

Swoopes was the first player signed to the WNBA, and with the introduction of the Nike Air Swoopes in 1995, Sheryl became the first female athlete to have a Nike Signature Shoe named after her. Sheryl is a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, four-time WNBA Champion, and a NCAA National Champion. 

“We are excited to have Sheryl Swoopes as our guest for the 10th Women’s Leadership Luncheon,” University President Dr. Sandra S. Harper said. “It is special to be celebrating ten years of this luncheon alongside our university’s Centennial, and we are honored to have her join us.” 

The Dr. Sandra S. Harper Women’s Leadership Scholarship is given out at the luncheon to a traditional and non-traditional student who has demonstrated women’s leadership on campus and in their community. Over the past ten years, 17 scholarships have been awarded to students. 

The luncheon was previously held in the Mabee Room in the campus center, but as it is undergoing renovations, the event will be held in Kimbrell Arena. The Kimbrell Arena allows for almost double the space and tables for the event, making this the largest Women’s Leadership Luncheon to date. 

The luncheon brings together women from across the Abilene and McMurry community to celebrate their achievements and recognize student’s talent. This year, the entire McMurry Women’s Basketball team was invited and helped greet and seat guests as they entered.  

Student Forum

Swoopes also spoke at a student forum after the luncheon in the Ryan Recital Hall where students had the opportunity to ask questions and speak with her.