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Scholarship honors late ESPYS pioneer Maura Mandt

A scholarship honoring the late Maura Mandt, a television pioneer whose work with the ESPYS made it into a major event on the sports television calendar, has been established at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Mandt worked for more than 20 years on the ESPYS and was the creative force behind the awards show. She died in 2020 at age 53.

The $1.4 million scholarship, raised through donations, including a leading gift from the PeyBack Foundation, will be given out every four years. The PeyBack Foundation was founded in 1999 by Peyton and Ashley Manning. A number of other gifts from people in sports and entertainment rounded out the funding. Once the recipient of the first scholarship graduates, another will be awarded.

Mauran Mandt (second from left) at the Peabody Awards Ceremony in New York in 2019. EPA/ALBA VIGARY

The scholarship is designed to help women in filmmaking who have “a desire to use storytelling to advance change” as well as ensuring “strong female voices continue to be supported and heard in sports and in film,” according to officials at NYU.

“From legends across the sports landscape, to film, television, music stars, and media executives, to those who were fortunate enough to call her a friend, Maura made an indelible impact on so many,” Peyton Manning, a 20-year friend of Mandt, said in a statement. “This endowment is our way of honoring Maura Mandt’s incredible legacy, while giving a young student the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and hopefully follow in the footsteps of the unique life that Maura lived. Maura was a force, but, most importantly, a friend. We continue to miss her every day.”

In addition to the ESPYS, Mandt helped develop the X Games while at ESPN and worked on the NFL Honors show. She was an Emmy and Peabody Award winner as a producer and director.

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