Interest, Sport

Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness staff are in mourning with news of the passing last week of Jenny Lawler, a fixture at the Darlington headquarters for the past three decades.

“Jen”, as she was affectionately known to staff and hundreds in the broader Sydney University sporting community, started with the Sydney University Women’s Sports Association in 1991, initially under the stewardship of Ann Mitchell , and recently celebrated 30 years of service.

She was initially employed on a six-month temp contract and went on to become SUSF’s longest-serving member of staff, performing the roles of executive assistant to the SUSWA Director, the SUSF Executive Director, as a member of the finance team and, since 2020, as the executive assistant to the SUSF CEO.

Jen knew everyone in the SUSF organisation, past and present, and had an encyclopaedic memory of the history of the organisation and its many clubs. She followed the results of all clubs and competitions and was proud of the achievements of all Sydney University athletes.

As Ed Smith, SUSF’s Chief Executive Officer, said, it was perhaps fitting that her last big project was to completely update SUSF’s database of members, Blues, Golds, Olympians, life members and honorary life members.

“In doing this, she read over all of the great names of the past century who helped to build SUSF and, it is no surprise, she had a funny story to tell about most of them,” he said.

“Her value to the organisation and our clubs was recognised by our Boat Club back in the early 2000s when it christened a boat in her name, and SUSF will be finding more ways over the coming months to honour her contribution.”

Quite fittingly, before her passing, Jen led the SUSF staff’s NRL tipping competition and correctly tipped the Penrith Panthers to win the Grand Final by two points, securing her first place and the 2021 Tipping Championship.

Jen is survived by two sisters and a brother. Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced. But as Mr Smith said, when staff are able to return to work, “we look forward to celebrating Jenny’s life together in a way that would have made Jenny proud”.