New scholarship honors Viverito, helps QC female student-athletes

A new scholarship named in honor of a longtime champion of collegiate sports has been established to help female student-athletes in the Quad Cities region.

The Patty Viverito Emerging Leader Scholarship was announced by Visit Quad Cities at a Tip Off reception held Thursday, March 10, to kickoff the Missouri Valley Women’s Basketball Tournament in Moline. 

Ms. Viverito is in her 30th season as senior associate commissioner at the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) and is in her 36th year directing the Missouri Valley Football Conference as its commissioner.

The new scholarship recognizes and supports outstanding leaders in women’s athletics in the Quad Cities region. Beginning in March 2023, two Quad Cities female high school student-athletes from Illinois/Iowa will be recognized and awarded a scholarship investment in Ms. Viverito’s name.

“Patty Viverito continues to be one of the most influential leaders in collegiate athletics,” Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, said in a March 11 news release. “Being the 50th anniversary of Title IX and having the privilege of working alongside Patty on the Missouri Valley Women’s Basketball Tournament, we felt it only fitting that we should create this new initiative in her name.”

“She has been a great partner and friend of the Quad Cities and we look forward to supporting female student-athletes in the region that share her standard of achievement and her values,” he added.

A Chicago native, Ms. Viverito was named Missouri Valley Football’s first commissioner in September of 1985. She led the conference (then known as the Gateway Conference) to national prominence in the 1980s. The league, which sponsored nine women’s sports and FCS football, saw its women’s programs merge with their MVC men’s counterparts in 1992.

At The Valley, her responsibilities have transitioned into working largely in an advisory capacity with the new commissioner. She served as the tournament director of the 2001 and 2009 NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Ms. Viverito currently serves as the FCS commissioners’ representative on the NCAA Division I Council and vice-chair of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee. A nationally respected administrator, Ms. Viverito recently completed a term on the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) Executive Committee and chair of the FCS Subcommittee of the CCA. She has served on the NCAA Executive Committee, the NCAA Council, the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and was chair of the NCAA Committee for Women’s Athletics and Olympic Sports Liaison committees.

In 2015, Ms. Viverito received the Mel Narol Medallion for her service to NASO and the officiating community.  She was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.  In 1996, Viverito was recognized for her contributions to collegiate athletics, when she was selected as the NACWAA (National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators) Administrator of the Year. In addition, she received Professional Service Achievement Alumni Awards from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Northern Illinois University.

In addition to the new scholarship, Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati also proclaimed March 10 as Patty Viverito Day to a crowd at the Tip Off Reception at Centre Station in downtown Moline. 

The Quad Cities has served as the host of the MVC Wom­en’s Basketball postseason championship since 2016. This year’s tourney, held March 10-13, marked the 15th-consecutive season in its 40-year history that the event took place at a neutral site.


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