MINNEAPOLIS - A woman instrumental in supporting women's athletics, equal rights and social causes at the University of Minnesota has passed at the age of 94.

Kathleen Ridder's name is on the facility used by the Gopher women's hockey team, a testiment to the role she and her husband Robert Ridder played in getting it built. The couple provided significant funding for the project, and Kathleen Ridder was on hand to drop the ceremonial first puck in 2002 after the arena became the only women's-only collegiate hockey facility in the country.

The U of M News Service says Ridder was also a vocal and financial advocate of social causes, serving on the Minnesota Board of Human Rights and the Minnesota Women's Campaign Fund. Ridder chaired several women's athletic department committees as well, including the Advisory Council and the women's athletic scholarship endowment of the Minnesota Campaign. Throughout it she also found time to become an author, penning three books during her lifetime.

"She was knowledgeable of Title IX, a strong advocate for all women and she and her husband, Bob, were generous with their time and resources to promote women," former Gopher AD Joel Maturi told the U of M News Service.  

"Kathleen Ridder lived an incredible life, and she will be missed. She was someone who was passionate about providing women with opportunities, including opportunities in athletics," recalled former Gopher women's hockey coach Laura Halderson. "She put her passion into action through her advocacy, her tenacity, and her financial support.  I’m thankful to have known this amazing woman and grateful for the impact she made on so many people, including me. Kathleen Ridder may be gone, but her legacy will live on."