Corporate Challenge Participants Share More Than Fun and Competition in Annual Events
Mother Says Special Olympian Adopted by University Benefits in Multiple Ways

UT Dallas helped raise more than $162,500 for Special Olympics of Texas through its participation in the city of Richardson’s Corporate Challenge 2011.

Corporate Challenge gathers Richardson-area businesses each fall to compete in 10 weeks of competition for fun and fitness while raising money for Special Olympics.

UT Dallas has been involved in Corporate Challenge throughout the event’s 14-year history.

“Corporate Challenge allows UT Dallas to be a good corporate citizen by helping to raise money for an important cause,” said Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Calvin D. Jamison. “At the same time, it aligns with the University’s wellness initiatives.”

This year, UT Dallas teams battled within their division garnering 14 medals in 22 contests to finish in second place. UT Dallas pride was on display repeatedly.

Assistant Provost Serenity King cited her team as an example: “The softball team has a core group that has played every year for the last seven years or so, and that core group has formed friendships that lead to outside-of-work get-togethers.”

Corporate Challenge 2011

Temoc attended the Corporate Challenge opening ceremony.

Beyond the bonding and sportsmanship enjoyed by participants is Special Olympics of Texas, the organization that ultimately benefits from Corporate Challenge.

Fourteen years ago, UT Dallas adopted Special Olympian Justin Hoover of Richardson.

According to Justin’s mom, Judy, Special Olympics gives people with special needs a great opportunity to develop their physical and social skills.

“It is a lot like physical therapy, really. As a matter of fact, Special Olympics is how Justin got out of occupational therapy,” Hoover said.

Justin has been involved in Special Olympics since he was 8, she said. He’s now 32.

Over the years he has won hundreds of medals, many of which are on display in his bedroom. He’s won so many, in fact, that his mom says it would be impossible to display them all at once.

“Actually, what we as a society get back from spending time with Special Olympics expands our humanity and makes us all better human beings,” Hoover said.

While his favorite events include basketball, bowling, soccer and horseback riding, for Justin the social interaction is the best part of Special Olympics.

“Justin and another athlete said the word, ‘team,’ ” Hoover said. “They were telling us they wanted to play as a team. Together they’ve come from not being able to do so well to playing amazingly well together. The fun and camaraderie – that is huge.”

Special Olympians work hard to stretch beyond their mental and physical expectations. Remembering plays and directions and developing their coordination are a big deal.

“They are always surprising us because they can always do more than we think they can do,” Hoover said. “Watching Special Olympics events, we just sit back in awe, saying, ‘Look how far our guys have come.’ ”

Seventy-five percent of the money Corporate Challenge raises each year goes to Special Olympics of Texas, and 25 percent goes to the Richardson Special Olympics team, according to Marti Bishop, assistant director of the Richardson delegation.

She said the money is used to purchase the athletes’ uniforms and sports equipment and to take 52 athletes to the state tournament in Arlington each summer.

“These tournaments are tremendous social growth opportunities, where he can room with other athletes. They grow, and they get better,” Hoover said.

Tracy Dorsey, assistant director for Human Resources and chair of UT Dallas’ Corporate Challenge Committee, said, “Knowing how much fun we had organizing our teams and competing this year, and that our donations help athletes like Justin excel in life, gives one a wonderful feeling inside. And the end result adds new meaning to our motto this year, ‘That’s Why We Play the Games.’ ”

UT Dallas Special Olympian Justin Hoover and his mother, Judy, meet with Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Calvin D. Jamison at the Corporate Challenge closing ceremony.


Above: The softball team is made up of a core group of staffers that have played together every year for the last seven years.

Below: The UT Dallas volleyball team won a gold medal for the third year in a row.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].