VESTAL, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – Binghamton University held its 18th annual Celebrating Women’s Athletics luncheon today inside the Events Center.

This year’s keynote speaker was former professional golfer and broadcast commentator Dottie Pepper.

Pepper played in the LPGA for 18 years, winning 17 championships including 2 majors.

For the past 20 years, she’s been an analyst for network golf coverage including as an on-course reporter at the Masters.

She grew up in and still lives in Saratoga Springs.

In high school, she played on the boys’ team as there was no team for girls.

Pepper says she’d like to see more girls take up the game of golf, as it’s a sport you can play your entire life, and there’s a lot of networking and business that takes place on the golf course.

“Girls who go through programs are more self-confident, they are better about a schedule, they are able to handle whatever the world throws at them in a much better way. They can do it on their own, they can do it in team sport. I think it is essential that women have these opportunities.”

The luncheon also featured remarks from BU senior and softball player Alli Richmond who spoke of how athletics helped her overcome some academic challenges she’s experienced in college.

And Pepper called out her cousin’s daughter who is also a BU senior on the school’s swim team.

Pepper says she has the following advice to young athletes: find good mentors, always be prepared and understand that you have to earn everything you get in life.