Muhammad and Lonnie Ali have made a donation to University of Louisville Athletics to endow the Muhammad Ali Leadership Baseball Scholarship, providing a lasting legacy with the Cardinals for the hometown legend.
The $100,000 commitment for the scholarship includes a $50,000 honorarium Ali will receive when he is awarded the inaugural Grawemeyer Spirit Award on Sept. 17, and the additional $50,000 is from an anonymous donor who matched the amount. The Grawemeyer Spirit Award will be presented at a free, public ceremony Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. at The Louisville Palace. The legendary Ali will also be recognized at the Cardinals’ Sept. 17 home football game against Clemson.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to begin a leadership scholarship with the University of Louisville Baseball Team,” said Ali. “It allows me to support three things I love: children, education and sports.”
“We sincerely appreciate the creation of this scholarship from both Muhammad and Lonnie, who have long been supporters of our university,” said Tom Jurich, UofL Vice President and Director of Athletics. “I know it will be a true honor for one of our baseball student-athletes each season to be the recipient of a scholarship with such a legendary name attached. I also want to personally thank Muhammad and Lonnie both for all that they have done for me during my time in Louisville.”
Among the criteria for awarding the scholarship to an active member of the UofL baseball team includes that the student-athlete be in good academic standing, active within the CardsCare outreach program and demonstrates exemplary leadership qualities on and off the field. UofL’s head baseball coach will determine the recipient each year.
Ali’s son Asaad was a catcher for the UofL baseball team from 2009-12 while earning his degree in communication.
A native of Louisville, Ali is not only considered one of the greatest boxers of all time, but is one of the most recognized athletes in the world. He was the first to win the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions, a title he successfully defended 19 times. As an amateur, he won both the national Golden Gloves title and an Olympic gold medal. He also earned international acclaim as a social activist and philanthropist. He was named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated and the BBC in 1999.