50 Years of Women's Varsity Athletics at Yale: A Historic Retrospective


Kiphuth Fellowship press release 1986.

Formal and informal celebrations marked the success of the Yale women's athletics program. From anniversary events to institutional award ceremonies, Yale women athletes were celebrated for their historic as well as athletic victories. 


"An accomplished and diverse women's athletics program...has come of age with swift resolve."

-1986 Yale Sports press release


In 1986, in honor of the fifteenth anniversary of the women's athletics program, Yale organized a two-day celebration.  Honored during the celebrations was Donna de Varona, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, commentator for ABC sports with the Kiphuth Fellowship, the first woman to be awarded the Fellowship.  

Brochure on women's athletics 1986

Inside cover 1986

History of women's sports at Yale 1986

Gymnastics team from booklet 1986

Tennis Team photo from booklet 1986

In February 1994, as part of the celebrations of National Women and Girls' Sports Week, alumnae were invited back to campus to mark the event and hold 25th anniversary celebrations to honor the establishment of women's athletics at Yale.  In a November 1993 article for the Yale Alumni Mangazine, Varsity Sports Director Barbara Chesler remarks, "They were pioneers.  They really struggled in the 1970s and deserve to be recognized".  

1994 Celebration booklet front cover

1994 celebration booklet 

1994 Celebration booklet

1994 Celebration booklet

1994 Celebration booklet

In 1999, the Ivy League celebrated its Silver Anniversary through a yearlong series of programs honoring 25 years of Ivy League women's championship competition: "Growing dramatically in the past quarter century, the Ivy League now sponsors 16 league sports for women - more sports by far, played by more athletes, than any other NCAA conference in the nation." 

Cover of a 1999 Ivy League Silver Anniversary booklet.