After serving on the Little League International Board of Directors for six years, Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour celebrated her new title of Chairman with a banquet in her honor on Tuesday night at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport.
Gilmour, whom was named Chairman-Elect in 2008, succeeds Dennis Lewin, who will remain on the Board of Directors.
"I'm honored. It's a big responsibility, but I feel like I'm prepared and the other chairmen have helped me a great deal - it's a humbling experience," Gilmour said. "I really believe in Little League and I believe in what it does for our community and for the youth of the world. It's an honor to serve and I look forward to it."
Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Vincent Matteo asks Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour a question from a book on baseball he presented to her during a reception in Gilmour’s honor at the Community Arts Center Tuesday. Gilmour recently was named the first chairwoman of the Little League Baseball board.
Gilmour takes over the title of Chairman while retaining her position as President of Penn College. And while the two positions could make for a lot of work for Gilmour, her past experience at Penn College could help her excel in her new role with Little League.
"It's taught me how to be very organized and the values of Little League are very similar to those of Penn College in that we aspire to improve the lives of the people we work with," Gilmour said. "And this is an incredible opportunity for young men and women to play sports and it's a way for them to learn teamwork and build character and really build what's important in life."
In taking over as Chairman of the Board of Directors, Gilmour doesn't just bring her experience at Penn College to the table. Gilmour becomes the first female Chairman in Little League's 73-year history to accept the position's five-year term.
"It's very exciting," Gilmour said. "It's a landmark thing, but I very much believe that you get somewhere in life because you give it your all and you find success. It's an honor and I've had a great opportunity to serve with many board members and I'm honored to be the first woman, but I just want to be the best Chairman I can be."
With Gilmour at the helm, Little League's 75th anniversary right around the corner and a renovated museum coming in the near future, Little League International is moving forward very quickly. And as many viewers saw this past summer with the team from Uganda, Little League is expanding in a new, exciting direction in places outside of the main complex in South Williamsport.
"The sky is the limit," Gilmour said of Little League's future. "The world is a big, open place for us and the more countries we can get the word of Little League into the better. Our urban initiative is very important and those are just things that we really want to do and are important to us."
And once the dust has settled on Gilmour's new position, both her and the rest of the board of directors will need to get to work on a sport that has seen participation decline worldwide. Participation in Little League Baseball has declined worldwide as it has been forced to compete with both youth soccer organizations and Pop Warner football.
"The staff is doing a phenomenal job and we have been doing some research," Gilmour said of improving Little League in the near future. "There's a whole idea of a more competitive approach to sports and I think competitive sports are really good but you have to make sure players are safe and the environment is safe, and I think that's what Little League brings to the table that not necessarily all the other organizations can talk about."