Ten Wellesley Scholar-Athletes and Four Women of Inspiration Recognized This Weekend at Wellesley

October 17, 2014
Wellesley's crew team was the first women's intercollegiate rowing team in the country.

On June 9, 2014, in front of an audience of 1,200 students, alumnae, and the world at large, Wellesley alumna and Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright ‘59, accompanied by four-time Olympian Angela Ruggiero, introduced the Wellesley Athletics Hall of Fame and its very first class of inductees, who will be installed during Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

The newly-established Hall of Fame honors the spirit and achievements of Wellesley scholar-athletes, as well as those who have inspired and supported them along the way. Its inductees exemplify 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.

Former Blue golfer and Hall of Fame inductee Barbara Bruning McGhie ’54 says, “To have [this] recognition from the College validates and celebrates the very important and substantial role that golf and other sports have played in my life….” And the role that Wellesley played too. “As I have gone through life I carry with me and have tried to actively demonstrate our motto, Non ministrari, sed ministrare, ‘Not to be ministered unto but to minister,’” she explains. “I am deeply grateful for the many opportunities and memories that are an ongoing part of my Wellesley experience.”

Bruning McGhie’s enthusiasm for her time with Wellesley Athletics isn’t unique. Fellow 2014 inductee Alix Wandesforde-Smith ’98 recalls with gratitude how Wellesley enabled her to be a scholar and an athlete:

“I had marine biology fieldwork at sea scheduled for the same day the field hockey team flew to the first round of the NCAA championship. My marine biology professor wouldn't let me skip the fieldwork (nor did I want to) but then I had to fly to New York that day as well. The solution the College came up with was to have a car waiting for me at the dock when the boat pulled in. I jumped off the boat and into the car and was taken to the airport to catch a later flight. I made it to the hotel to meet up with my teammates for dinner.”

The Wellesley Athletics Hall of Fame’s first initiate class honors a host of Blue athletes from a wide variety of sports, but as inductee Liza Janssen Petra ’94 reminds us, athletic triumphs are rarely achieved alone:

“When Bridget [Belgiovine, director of athletics] called to tell me the Committee's decision, I was overcome. I am incredibly humbled to be considered among this first class of inspiring women. I have always been a little uncomfortable receiving individual honors; however, as the sports I am recognized for are team sports, I will accept this on behalf of eight different teams over four years, made up of and coached by some of the best women and people I know, and many of whom I am still lucky enough to call friends.”

Indeed, at Wellesley we never pull alone, we always pull together. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field, each Wellesley sibling makes up a unique part of one Blue team, constantly in the pursuit of new pathways toward success.

Interested in meeting the 2014s inductees in person? RSVP at Wellesley Blue to save your spot at the 2014 Wellesley College Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on October 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Ballroom.

2014 Wellesley Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees


Paula Andres-O’Brien ’90, Basketball, Cross Country, Lacrosse

Paula Andres-O’Brien qualified for Nationals in cross-country four times during her time at Wellesley. Outside of her running career, she scored over 800 career points for the Blue in basketball, and also received All-Region honors in lacrosse.

Evelyn Boldrick Howard ’45, Badminton (posthumously)

Evelyn Boldrick Howard was the 1940 U.S. Women’s Singles Badminton Champion. She went on to become the 1942 U.S. Women’s Singles and Doubles Badminton Champion, all before even enrolling at Wellesley. Following her graduation in 1945, Evelyn went on to teach at Wellesley until 1949 before continuing her teaching career at Northeastern University until her retirement in 1958.  That same year, USA Badminton honored Boldrick Howard with a place in the Badminton Hall of Fame.

Barbara Bruning McGhie ’54, Golf

Barbara Bruning McGhie launched her golfing career in 1951 when she secured the Women’s National Intercollegiate Golf crown. Two weeks later, she won the New York Women’s Tri-County Golf competition, and, later that year, the New York State Women’s Golf Championship. Bruning McGhie went on to capture the 1952 and 1954 New York Women’s Golf Championship champion titles, and later earned a trip to the quarterfinals of the National Women’s Amateur Golf Championship.

Heidi Chang ’96, Fencing

During Heidi Chang’s career with the Blue, she earned two appearances at the NCAA Fencing Championships, finishing 14th in epee during the 1995-96 season and 2nd place in epee during the 1994-95 season, both times competing against fencers from Division I, II, and III schools. Chang was named NCAA All-American and NCAA Most Outstanding Epee Fencer for her work during the 1994-95 season. In addition to her awards from the NCAA, Chang earned a place on the All New England fencing team during all four years of her time at Wellesley.

Karyn Cooper ’92, Tennis

Karyn Cooper is Wellesley’s first NCAA National Tennis Champion. She is a three-time NCAA Division III All-American, as well as an Academic All-American.

Elizabeth “Liza” Janssen Petra ’94, Basketball, Soccer

Elizabeth Janssen Petra is a two-time Kodak National All-American recipient. During her time at Wellesley, Elizabeth earned four all-conference awards, and was named NEWMAC Player of the Year for her performance in basketball. Janssen Petra appears in the NCAA Division III record book 11 times and boasts 1,403 rebounds over the course of her basketball career. In addition to her work on the basketball team, she played soccer at Wellesley and was the recipient of the 1994 Hauptfuhrer Award.

Elizabeth Murphy, ’86, Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis

Elizabeth Murphy received the first ever Hauptfuhrer Award in 1986 for her work on four of Wellesley’s athletic teams. Murphy lettered in basketball, tennis, soccer, and lacrosse before going on to earn a Rhodes scholarship.

Allison Schnitzer ’00, Volleyball

Allison Schnitzer is a much-decorated member of the Blue volleyball team and 1998 GTE District I Academic Second Team All-American. Schnitzer was honored as an AVCA National All-American (Second Team) in 1997, 1998 and 1999. She was an AVCA Regional All-American during all four years at Wellesley. Schnitzer’s performance was further honored by NEWVA with Player of the Year (1996) and Rookie of the Year (1999) awards.

Deborah Twichell McDermott ’90, Swimming

Deborah Twichell McDermott is an NCAA All-American swimmer in the 400 IM, 400 Medley Relay and 800 Free Relay for 1987-88, 1988-89, and 1989-90. She was honored by the NCAA as an Academic All-American for her work during the 1989-90 School year.

Alix Wandesforde-Smith ’98, Basketball, Field Hockey

Alix Wandesforde-Smith led the Wellesley field hockey team to an appearance in the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1995. She was the 1994-95 NCAA Field Hockey Rookie of the Year, and throughout her field hockey career earned two All-American nods and 1997 NEWMAC Player of the Year. Wandesforde-Smith was also named Rookie of the Year for the 1994-95 basketball season, and went on to average 10.3 points per game during her senior season.

Women of Inspiration

Barbara Barnes Hauptfuhrer 49 (posthumously)

Barbara Barnes Hauptfuhrer was a past president of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association and trustee. Hauptfuhrer was dedicated to excellence in athletics at Wellesley, and endowed both the Barbara Barnes Hauptfuhrer Physical Education Fund and the Hauptfuhrer Scholar-Athlete Award in order to ensure the success of athletics at Wellesley in years to come. The Hauptfuhrer Physical Education Fund is designed to “establish a fund enabling Wellesley students to participate in inter-collegiate academic events” in the post-season, and covers transportation to championship competitions. The Hauptfuhrer Scholar-Athlete Award is awarded to a top-performing senior athlete at the end of each academic year in order to underscore the importance of athletics as part of a balanced lifestyle.

Nannerl O. Keohane ’61

Nannerl O. Keohane is the former Wellesley College president for whom Wellesley’s Sports Center is named. During her time at Wellesley, Keohane implemented an improved Affirmative Action program and increased minority student enrollment and faculty hiring, while also overseeing expansion of the Sports Center and the construction of the Davis Museum.

Katherine Curtis Rigler ’61

Katherine Curtis Rigler is the founding alumnae co-chair of the Friends of Wellesley College Athletics. Following her graduation from Wellesley, Curtis Rigler served on the Board of Trustees and, along with Linda K. Vaughan, was a fierce advocate for the expansion and development of athletics and physical education at Wellesley.

Linda K. Vaughan (posthumously)

Linda Vaughan was a professor emerita and former chair of the Wellesley Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics Department (PERA). She served on Wellesley’s faculty for 38 years and founded the Friends of Wellesley College Athletics (FOWCA). In the spring of 2008, Vaughan established an endowment to support FOWCA, creating a permanent legacy in Wellesley Athletics history.