Periodically we will get packages from Bison Athletics alumni and fans who would like to donate memorabilia back to their school. We sometimes receive old game programs, photos, and even some clothing. One of the coolest gifts that we have ever received came recently from Carroll Adams, Class of 1959, and it provided a glimpse into what women’s athletics was like during that era.
Ms. Adams received the 1959 Women’s Recreation Association Award, and she has proudly donated her pendant, adorned with crossed field hockey sticks, back to the athletic department. In her phone conversation with senior associate athletic director Maisha Kelly, and it is clear that Ms. Adams still has fond memories of Bucknell, and she is still an avid sportsperson!
Women’s athletics at the varsity level began to take shape at Bucknell after Title IX was enacted in 1972. Today we have 14 varsity programs for women, and they just captured the Women’s Patriot League Presidents’ Cup for the 17th time in 26 years. But well before the proliferation of varsity opportunities, the Women’s Recreation Association (WRA) oversaw athletics opportunities for Bucknell women.
According to the 1957-58 Student Handbook, “The Women’s Recreation Association is an organization which provides wholesome recreation and develops skill in sports. All women students become members when they enter Bucknell … The functions of WRA are to assist in the direction of women’s intramural sports, which include competition between sorority teams and an independent team, and between teams of the four classes, and to provide for the establishment of the different activity clubs. WRA sponsors picnics for freshman women in the fall, playdays with other colleges, the annual May Day program, a Sadie Hawkins dance, and the WRA awards dinner.”
Ms. Adams was not just the top athlete in her class in 1959, she is still going strong today. She recently competed at the 2016 Lancaster Senior Games at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex, which is now the home of the U.S. National Field Hockey Team, and she and her partner earned a silver medal in pickleball. More than 950 seniors over the age of 50 participated in the Games.
Ms. Adams is a resident of Willow Valley Communities in Lancaster, and she was recently the subject of a “Fitness Spotlight” in their newsletter. Incredibly, she walked 2,226 miles in 2013!
Sadly, Ms. Adams husband, Win, passed away in March 2016. We are so thankful that she still has Bucknell in her thoughts 57 years after graduation. Her 1959 WRA Award will be proudly displayed in KLARC administrative suite, and we wish her all the best in health and fitness for many more years!