LONDON, Canada - WTA Chairman & CEO Stacey Allaster received an honorary degree from her alma mater, Western University, on Monday.
Allaster, who earned a BA in Economics & Physical Education from Western and an MBA from the Ivey Business School, was presented with a Doctor Of Laws, honoris causa (LL.D.) during the university's 303rd Convocation ceremony. She got the chance to address the Faculty of Health Sciences and Brescia College students at Alumni Hall.
"Own your destiny," Allaster said, as published on the Western News website. "Define your independence. Dream big. Be comfortable with who you are. Push yourself outside your comfort zone. Break the mold. Be a trailblazer.
"And keep it simple. It is a very complex world, and those who can keep it simple and not sweat the small stuff, you will not have as many gray hairs as I do. There is so much drama out there. Just let it go. We are all driven and want to do the best, so just let the small stuff go."
Named by Forbes Magazine as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Sports," Allaster has held virtually every position imaginable in the world of tennis. Having excelled as a junior and then collegiate player, her career has taken her from Tournament Director in Toronto right up to her current role at the head of the world's leading professional sport for women. In 2011, WTA's Board of Directors unanimously voted to extend Allaster's contract, setting her up to become the second-longest serving Chairman and CEO of the WTA in history (read her full bio here).
"Stacey's career reflects some important changes in women's sport at Western and beyond," kinesiology professor Karen Danylchuk said in her citation. "Just as women tennis players once competed for prizes much smaller than their male counterparts, women's teams at Western were once limited, underfunded and undercelebrated.
"In elevating the women's game in professional tennis, Stacey is a pioneer and an inspiration to Western's women athletes and coaches. She reminds us that the experience of varsity athletics can have a powerful impact on young women at the beginning of their careers and demonstrates how far women's sport has come."
Western University, or the University of Western Ontario as it is traditionally called, is a public research university located in London, Ontario. It has 12 faculties and professional schools and three affiliated university colleges, and is one of the top-ranked universities in Canada.