RICHMOND, IN, USA – Seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams has given her name to a scholarship to support a tennis player at Indiana University East, where she studied for a degree in business administration.

Retired university staff Larry and Jane Richards have donated $25,000 to endow a scholarship for a player there, the proceeds of which will be matched annually by Indiana University to create a $2,250 annual scholarship, which will help support a participant in IU East’s intercollegiate tennis program for up to four years.

"We hope the Venus Williams Tennis Scholarship will help recruit and retain accomplished students who wish also to play tennis for IU East, especially for the women’s team," said Larry Richards. "We also hope that this endowment will inspire others to donate additional funds for this purpose."

"Venus Williams was one of my mathematics students when she was working on her degree in business administration," added Jane Richards. "We are honored that she has agreed to let this scholarship be named for her. She has been a role model for many students and tennis players."

Williams was the first student to graduate under the agreement that IU East has with the Women’s Tennis Benefits Association (WTBA). The WTBA agreement supports WTA players who wish to complete their bachelor’s degrees while continuing to play professionally. The agreement makes IU East the sole provider of online bachelor degree level education for WTA players.

“We congratulate Jane and Larry Richards for establishing the Venus Williams Tennis Scholarship at IU East," said Lisa Grattan, chairperson of the Women's Tennis Benefits Association. "It was Venus who inspired the partnership between the WTBA and IU East, and this endowment celebrates that legacy. The WTBA is proud of our educational partnership with IU East and its accomplishments.”