WELLESLEY, Mass. – Wellesley College celebrated the induction of the inaugural class of the Wellesley Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday evening. With Louise McCleary ’87, Director of NCAA Division III, serving as master of ceremonies and joined onstage by Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly and Director of Athletics Bridget Belgiovine, ten former scholar-athletes and four Women of Inspiration were honored and will forever serve as motivation to all current and future Wellesley College student-athletes.
The Wellesley Athletics Hall of Fame exemplifies the College’s longstanding conviction that varsity athletics play an important role in the development of leadership abilities, the cultivation of character and discipline, and the resolve to strive for excellence in every aspect of life.
The inaugural class of four women of inspiration were introduced first. Barbara Barnes Hauptfuhrer ‘49, one-time President of the Alumnae Association, member of the Board of Trustees and fervent support of athletics was the first inductee to be honored. Inducted posthumously, her son Barnes Hauptfuhrer accepted on her behalf.
Two members of the Class of 1961 were the next two to take their place in the Hall of Fame. First was Nannerl O. Keohane ‘61, Wellesley College’s President from 1981-1993. Keohane is credited with vastly improving facilities on campus including the Keohane Sports Center, named in her honor. She was followed by Katherine “Kitsy” Curtis Rigler ‘61, a former member of the Board of Trustees and the co-founder of the Friends of Wellesley College Athletics in 1987. Rigler concluded her induction by leading a spirited class of 1961 chant.
The final woman of inspiration to be named in the inaugural class was Linda K. Vaughan, Professor Emiritae and Chair/Director of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics at Wellesley College from 1973-1990. During her tenure, Wellesley embarked on a new era of varsity intercollegiate sports, as the program joined the NCAA. Along with Kitsy Rigler, she also co-founded the Friends of Wellesley College Athletics. Linda was inducted posthumously and her cousin Peter Gleason accepted the award on her behalf.
Ten Alumnae Athletes then made their way across the stage, in alphabetical order, led by Paula Andres O’Brien ‘90. As a four-year starter in cross country, basketball and lacrosse, O’Brien earned All-American recognition honors in both cross country and lacrosse. O’Brien was followed by Evelyn Boldrick Howard, M.S. 1945, a three-time national champion in Badminton. Evelyn was inducted posthumously and her children Jimm Howard, Kent Howard, and Judith Hines accepted on her behalf.
Barbara Bruning McGhie ‘54, another intercollegiate champion, was the next to take her place. McGhie was the 1951 National Intercollegiate Golf Champion, just a year after a runner-up performance in 1950.
The most decorated fencer in Wellesley history, Heidi Chang ‘96 was the next inductee to be honored. The 1995 NCAA Individual Epee Regional Champion, Chang went on to finish as the national runner-up.
Having made the journey from her native Peru to attend Saturday’s induction, Karyn Cooper ‘92 and Wellesley’s First NCAA Division III National Champion was the fifth Alumnae Athlete to be inducted. Cooper won the 1991 Singles Tennis National Championship. Her career record was an astounding 65-1.
Five more Alumnae Athletes were honored as part of the inaugural class after Cooper, including Liza Janssen Petra ‘94 who scored 1,739 points in her basketball career and collected 41 goals and 29 assists in her soccer career. Elizabeth “Lisa” Murphy, Lisa Murphy, class of 1986 and a four-sport athlete in Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer and Tennis, was the first player in Wellesley basketball history to score 1,000 points and the only to be named a Rhodes Scholar.
Two standout student-athletes in volleyball and swimming were the next to be recognized. First Allison Schnitzer, Class of 2000, and a four-year starter and a three-time All-American for Blue volleyball, was inducted. Schnitzer led the Blue volleyball program to three NCAA Championship appearances. Swimming’s Deborah Twichell McDermott ’90 was then honored. A four-time Individual NCAA All-American and a three-time NCAA Relay All-American in Swimming, McDermott never finished lower than sixth place in any regional competition.
The last Alumane Athlete to be honored was Alix Wandesforde-Smith ‘98. The 1994-95 NEWMAC Field Hockey and Basketball Rookie of the Year, Wandesforde-Smith collected numerous All-Conference, All-Region honors including twice being named an All-American in Field Hockey.
In addition to the personal award that each inductee received, a permanent Hall of Fame Room has been established on the main entry level of the Keohane Sports Center at Wellesley College that contains a formal display of photos and information about each honoree. This current display will remain in place for two years, as the Hall of Fame induction is a bi-annual event. More information and nominations for the Class of 2016 can be made online at www.wellesleyblue.com/hof