Sept. 13, 2007
Editor's Note: During the last weekend of September 2007, the Washington State University Athletic Department will proudly host a celebration to honor the women who began the legacy of Cougar Athletics. Honorees will include women athletes and coaches who represented Cougar Athletics prior to the 1982-83 season. The event, which will take place Sept. 28 & 29 on the WSU campus, will be highlighted by a celebratory banquet and honorees will be presented with a varsity letter award. To visit the "Honoring the Legacy in Women's Athletics" website please click Here
By Jason Krump
Later this month, a significant aspect of the over 100-year athletics' history at Washington State University will be remembered and honored.
Women's athletics has long been a staple at WSU, far before the historic Title IX ruling in 1972, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Its history coincides with the beginning of the university itself. Many stories are well known; many others have yet to be told.
Regardless if they are well-known or not, all of the stories of these past student-athletes will be celebrated at a special event: "Honoring the Legacy in Women's Athletics," which will pay homage to all the women responsible for the legacy of Cougar women's athletics. The event will take place at the WSU campus Sept. 28 and 29.
During the event, countless recalled stories and many evoked memories undoubtedly will occur because of a digital photo collection compiled by the WSU Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.
The collection, titled "A Century of Women's Athletics at Washington State University," features nearly 400 digital photos chronicling the history of women's athletics at the school dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century.
The project was made possible through a grant from the Women's History Consortium (WHC), which is an initiative created by the Washington State Legislature in 2005 that is part of the Washington State Historical Societies.
"The Consortium is interested in acquiring, preserving and providing access to the materials of the history of women in the state of Washington," said Laila Miletic-Vejzovic, Head of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections at WSU.
Looking at the photo anthology is much like browsing through a photo album, except that this "album" is on the web. It is featured on the WSU Libraries website, and the link can also be accessed through the Cougar Athletics' official website, wsucougars.com.
The task of cataloging and posting the nearly 400 athletic photos fell on research associate Ryli Clark. Clark inherited the project from another research associate who had already searched the libraries' collection of photos and listed the ones that she determined would be interesting to use.
"I had the easy part, which was to pull the photographs that were already listed and catalog them," Clark said. "That was the fun part."
Working from the list, Clark scanned and provided a description for each photograph. According to her, the time devoted to scan and catalog each photo was 10 minutes.
The final result is a compilation of photos that span sports from A (archery) to nearly Z (volleyball) and is broken down in over 30 categories Timing of when the site became live on the web coincided with the 2007 WSU Academic Showcase in March, in which the project was featured.
Student-athletes representing many of the sports that the photos convey will gather for the September celebration. Honorees will include women athletes and coaches who represented Cougar Athletics prior to the 1982-83 season. The festivities will be highlighted by a celebratory banquet, and honorees will be presented with a varsity letter award.
More information about the WHC can be found www.washingtonwomenshistory.org. The site contains information on a variety of topics related to Washington state women's history.