Triton Spirit

Marge Seybold

Marge Seybold, pictured center right

Marjorie Seybold, MPIA '90, wishes she had kept the photos of her dunking in high school. Well, at 5 feet, 4 inches, maybe she wasn't really dunking, but Marge believes that athletics gave her an edge academically. As a field hockey and basketball player in the 1950s, Marge was certainly in the minority. At the time, most people looked askance at female athletes — it wasn't ladylike, and competitive young women were often labelled tomboys.

But other people's opinions never stopped Marge. In high school, she had a job at the local hospital lab, cleaning equipment and updating patient charts with test results. Marge enjoyed tracking changes to patients' health and knew she wanted to be a doctor. After graduating from high school in 1957, she attended Cornell for her undergraduate work before going to Temple University for her medical degree and completing her neurology training at the Mayo Clinic and a neuro-ophthalmology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Over the course of more than eight years of higher education, Marge saw a distinct improvement in her grades when she was able to participate in sports: athletics helped Marge's focus and discipline, as well as giving her experience as part of a team — a vital component to medical practice.

When Marge was recruited to join a new medical school at a fledgling campus in San Diego, she saw it as an opportunity. In 1973, UC San Diego was establishing a new medical school — one without layers of tradition and bureaucracy — and Marge had the chance to help develop medical curriculum and teach higher level classes, activities usually reserved for senior faculty. Marge stayed at UC San Diego School of Medicine until 1985, when she moved to Scripps Clinic, but she wasn't done at UC San Diego. She moved back to teach again from 1992 to 2003.

Throughout her life and career, Marge travelled. She taught abroad in Vietnam, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and enjoyed being able to spend time with people and participate in their everyday lives. Those trips fostered a nascent interest in international relations. In 1988, Marge learned that UC San Diego had established the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (now the School of Global Policy and Strategy) and decided to enroll in the masters in international affairs program. She rearranged her work schedule so that she could attend classes full-time while continuing to see patients. As a student once again, Marge was challenged to learn new skills: in addition to using a computer for the first time, she also found new ways to think and write about topics like finance, public policy and economics.

"I really enjoyed economics. I can't say the same for accounting, but it was useful, I guess," Marge jokes.

Basketball proved useful, too. In her 50s, Marge found a league for adult women — and she's been playing ever since. Although the game is a little different than when she played in high school, Marge finds the game more interesting and enjoys the competition. It was also through the league that she became a fan of the Triton women's basketball team. More than a decade ago, Marge met Charity Elliott, who was the women's basketball coach at the time, and the two became friends. Marge encouraged Charity to play in her adult basketball league, and Charity invited Marge to Triton women's basketball games. And Marge has continued to attend games to this day, becoming a great fan of new coach Heidi VanDerveer and her staff.

"There is something about the team that is so admirable — and I like the fact that they win!" says Marge. "They play hard and play well, but they always play fair. It's wonderful seeing young women who are smart and have a challenging schedule also excel athletically, and they are getting something out of the team experience that is more than a competition, it's a sisterhood."

Perhaps because young women were not encouraged to participate in sports when she was young, Marge wants to ensure that future generations of young women have the opportunity to pursue their athletic dreams. She believes that athletics offer an opportunity for young women to excel in new ways. Marge has included UC San Diego in her planned giving to support Triton women's basketball in perpetuity.

"I'm just a small pebble in the pond of excellence," Marge says. "I just want that excellence to endure, whether it's athletics or research or health care. UC San Diego is a remarkable university, especially for how young it is. I just want it to continue to excel."

And through her gift, Marge knows that it will. She hopes that her legacy gives women athletes and coaches the opportunity to achieve and receive the recognition they deserve.

If you would like to make a gift to support future Tritons, like Marge did, please contact the Office of Gift Planning at (858) 534-2249 or to get started.