When you hear the name Jo Redmon, you automatically think fencing.
A recent gift of $125,000 from Redmon to establish The Jo A. Redmon Endowed Fund for Fencing will now forever link her name to the sport at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).
“Jo Redmon’s generous gift will insure the preservation of the sport of fencing at CSULB,” said Ken Millar, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “We are grateful for Jo’s continuing to support the Department of Kinesiology.”
As a long-time professor and fencing coach at CSULB and now a valued emerita faculty member, Redmon’s love, investment and commitment to the campus’ fencing program was the driving force behind her teams’ success and helped build a firm foundation for the sport at the university for almost half a century. In addition, her tireless efforts played a substantial role in the success of the sport on the West Coast as a whole.
“I have worked at CSULB for 50 years, which has been two-thirds of my life,” said Redmon. “We used to have a terrific varsity program, but it dropped when I retired. Athletics wasn’t going to pay a fencing coach so we dropped to the two classes in the spring and I taught them for another 12 years. I loved doing it, loved the kids, loved the subject matter and loved the activity.
“With all of that in mind, I thought that it would be a good idea to keep the classes going, thus the gift,” she added. “After all this time, it would be a shame for Long Beach to not have fencing. I am blessed that I have the financial security to make the donation and that fencing will continue to be a part of our activity classes.”
The gift was made partially with cash and partially with an irrevocable bequest to achieve Redmon’s goals. The ability to guarantee her gift with assets from her estate will assure that the Department of Kinesiology can hire a qualified instructor each semester.
In recognition of her generous contribution, Redmon became a founding member of the Dean’s Circle, a select group of the College of Health and Human Services’ most generous and loyal supporters. She also will be recognized as a member of campus-wide groups, including the Carillon Society, which recognizes lifetime giving of donors, and the Legacy Society since her gift included a bequest.
After building teams at universities in Illinois and Colorado, Redmon came to CSULB in 1964 and built a fencing tradition by leading the 49ers to 14 first place finishes at the Intercollegiate Fencing Conference of Southern California Championships. Beginning in 1979 she never failed to qualify at least one fencer for the NCAA National Championships and coached eight All-Americans. In 1984 the 49ers placed 15th and in 1986 placed 9th overall at the NCAA Championships.
That hard-fought success earned Redmon wide respect and she served for five years on the National NCAA Men’s and Women’s Fencing Committee. She also served as chair in 1981 of the first Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women National Championship Committee. In 1993 the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA) named Redmon Coach of the Year and in 2000 the USFCA honored her with the Lifetime Commitment to the Sport of Fencing Award.
In 2002 the university bestowed its highest athletic honor as Redmon was inducted into the Long Beach State Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of her successful competitive fencing heritage in the field of intercollegiate athletics. Today, still lecturing on and promoting the sport of fencing, she remains a beloved and respected emerita faculty member who has brought unrivaled accolade to the university for her contributions to the sport.