Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Swarthmore has officially inducted the second annual class of the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame. In an unveiling ceremony before a few dozen onlookers on Friday night, Marian Ware Director of Athletics Adam Hertz revealed plaques honoring the six inductees at the Hall of Fame display in Tarble Pavilion.
The Hall recognizes former student-athletes for accomplishments athletic and otherwise, both at Swarthmore and beyond. According to the Hall’s bylaws, “athletic accomplishment will be of primary importance” in the consideration of nominees, “but the committee will also consider moral character, good citizenship, and service to community as an undergraduate and/or graduate, among other valuable traits.”
The Hall’s new members are Imo Akpan ’02 (track and field), Edwin Faulkner (tennis coach), Helen Tomlinson Gibson ’41 (field hockey, tennis, basketball), Ed Greene ’85 (baseball, football, track and field), Julie Noyes LaFramboise ’95 (lacrosse, soccer, field hockey), and Rolf Valtin ’48 (soccer). The Hall’s Nominating Committee selected this class’s members from over 200 nominations.
The achievements of the recipients include Akpan’s program-best thirteen Centennial Conference championships in track and field, LaFramboise’s record-high career scoring average in Division III women’s lacrosse history, Greene’s selection by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1985 MLB Draft, Gibson’s playing for the U.S. national field hockey team, and the three Davis Cup championships won by Faulkner-coached teams. Valtin, meanwhile, suspended his extraordinary college career and joined the U.S. Army during World War II, participating the Invasion of Normandy before returning to Swarthmore in 1946 and later playing for the U.S. Olympic soccer team in 1948.
The Hall’s website includes brief biographies of the inductees, complete with overviews of their accomplishments.
Following the unveiling, the Hall’s new members were introduced to the Swarthmore student body at the Garnet Weekend pep rally. The four living inductees stood before the crowd as they were recognized for their achievements.
This year’s inductees follow the twelve members of last year’s class, whose induction inaugurated the Hall last fall.
“We had conversation about a Hall for several years, suggesting that it was important to recognize extraordinary efforts of people associated with Garnet Athletics,” Hertz wrote in an email.
He also wrote that the Swarthmore community’s response to the Hall had been “wholly positive” since its inception and that the most unexpected effects of the Hall’s establishment have been the reactions of the inductees.
Of his reaction to learning that he would be inducted into the Hall, Greene wrote in an email, “I was so honored, humbled, happy. I got the call at work, and called my family right away. I thought about all the instrumental people that were responsible for getting me to this point.”
Greene—now Assistant Director of Admission and Records at Mission College in Santa Clara, California—said that his parents, brother, and cousin traveled from Maryland to attend the induction ceremony.
While their athletic honors, both at Swarthmore and post-college, are numerous, it should not be forgotten that the inductees endured full Swarthmore course loads during their years at the college. Some, however, feel that athletics benefit the college education.
Vic Brady ’13—formerly a student assistant for four varsity teams at Swarthmore and now the assistant field hockey coach at Denison University in Granville, Ohio—said that last year’s inductees had spoken about how athletics “bolstered their academic experience at the school and enabled them to be as successful as they are in their various fields.”
“Especially at a Division III school, I really believe that athletics supplement and enhance the liberal arts education,” Brady said.
As a current coach and a former Swarthmore student, Brady understands the commitment athletes like Greene have devoted both on and off the field.
“These [inductees] are the people every student-athlete aspires to be,” Brady said. “If you look at what they did on the field, on the track, on the court—and then at what they’ve done in their various professions […] that is what the Division III athletic experience is all about.”