She was a standout tennis player for the Bulldogs, but Lisa Rosenblum's greatest contribution to Yale Athletics might simply have come over dinner conversation more than 25 years later.
She was such a dominant athlete in her Yale tennis career, the Most Valuable Player award is named in Lisa Rosenblum's honor.
Yet when all is said and done, her biggest contribution to Yale Athletics will not be in the form of her 43-2 career singles record or her three Ivy Group Championships.
It will be the idea that was hatched over a 2002 dinner with Anne Keating, a three-sport athlete at Yale herself. Those two came up with the idea of creating an endowment for women's sports at Yale and began calling fellow graduates from the early days of intercollegiate athletics.
Three years later, with more than a half of its million-dollar goal already raised, the fund — called Women's Intercollegiate Sports Endowment and Resource (WISER) — was announced.
Rosenblum serving as a co-founder was no surprise, considering her long-time success and connections to Yale. When she was chosen as one of the NCAA's Silver Anniversary Award winners in 2000, she was an ideal recipient.
In addition to the gaudy record and her Ivy titles, she had been a four-time New England Intercollegiate champion. She even tried out for and earned a spot on the men's team in her sophomore year, but remained with the women's team.
Having grown up in Queens, Rosenblum began playing tennis at age 10. She attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan — a specialized school in the public schools system. It was a natural fit as her father had taught at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art for many years.
With her connection to the school and interest in government and law, Rosenblum thought Yale would be the perfect collegiate choice. "I wanted to continue to play tennis, but my tennis was secondary to my interest in academics," Rosenblum said.
While dominating the courts for the Bulldogs, Rosenblum was also active in other extracurricular activities. She was a member of the Residential College Committee, served as a member of Yale's Athletic Governing Board and was a member of the Elected Course of Study Committee, which reviewed all new courses at Yale.
While Rosenblum's academic and athletic legacy at Yale was impressive, it was those efforts combined with her remarkable career in the telecommunications field that also impressed the Silver Anniversary Award committee.
After graduating cum laude with a degree in American History, she earned a doctorate from the Connecticut School of Law, serving as editor of the school's law review. Rosenblum worked as commissioner and deputy chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission and led the state of New York's efforts on the telecommunications act in 1996. She has been an advisor for telecommunications policy in the Czech Republic and Poland as part of the state department delegation.
Today, Rosenblum is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Legal Affairs of the Telephony and Data Services division of Cablevision Systems Corporation. Based in the New York area, Cablevision is one of the nation's leading telecommunications and entertainment companies. The company's portfolio of operations ranges from high-speed internet access, digital cable television and telephone services, professional sports teams (including the New York Knicks), world-renowned entertainment venues (such as Madison Square Garden) and national television program networks (including WE: Women's Entertainment).
She credits her Yale career with helping develop her professional success, even saying so in a 2004 speech to the Yale Tennis Association. Rosenblum was in school with the first four-year class of women at Yale. During her college days, Billie Jean King was fighting the sporting establishment for both fair compensation and respect and Title IX was enacted.
"Frankly, while these events would shape my Yale years, I was not all that aware of them in the late summer of 1971, as I traveled to New Haven with my dad," Rosenblum said. "I was thinking about things closer to home and my own personal challenges ahead. While I had some familiarity with Yale, I never had been away for any extended period of time. I was a young jock with an abundance of enthusiasm and interest, about to face a completely new environment. Unbeknownst to me, I was entering a special world that would give me the skills, discipline and confidence, so essential to my career."
— Josi Carlson