Orient: Bear Broads Bow

Bowdoin’s student newspaper, the Orient published this article by Debbie Robertson on November 5, 1971 (Document JH, 55), regarding the first game of the first women’s athletic team at Bowdoin—the field hockey team. Bowdoin played Bates at Pickard Field on October 30, 1971. Although Coach Sally LaPointe did not know how many student-athletes would show […]

Excerpt from the Report of the President’s Commission on Athletics

This document is an excerpt from the June 1, 1972 Report of the President’s Commission on Athletics (Document JH, 56), written by President Roger Howell, Jr., directly after the end of the first full year of coeducation at Bowdoin. The President notes the importance of investigating women’s athletics in order to for the report to […]

Orient Article: Women’s Sports Expand to Seven

In this December, 1973 article (Document JH, 57), Debbie Swiss discusses the growth of women’s athletics at Bowdoin since their introduction in 1971. She demonstrates the initial small number of women participating in some athletics at the College, explaining for example, that the women’s swimming program was under scrutiny because of a lack of participation. […]

Letter from Sally LaPointe to President Howell

The first women’s coach at Bowdoin, and supervisor of the women’s athletic program, Sally LaPointe, wrote this letter regarding the condition of women’s sports in May of 1977, about six years after the College first admitted women (Document JH, 58). It seemed to be LaPointe’s responsibility to update the president on the status of women’s […]

Letter from the Indoor Track Team and Letter from Dick Mersereau

The following series of documents represents requests made by women’s sports teams during the late 1970s. Evidence from the letters shows that concerns that emerged in LaPointe’s 1977 review of women’s athletics remained unresolved but that women athletes, and coaches of women continued to ask for support. The women’s indoor track team wrote the first […]

Team Photographs

These photographs of women’s sports teams in the Bowdoin Bugle demonstrate the progress of women’s athletics over the span of the 1970’s. They illustrate the sports women played at and for the College, starting in 1972 with two varsity sports, field hockey and swimming (women were members of the men’s team), and increasing to ten […]

Interview with Beth (Cantara) Richardson ’79, by Jillyan Henrikson ’12

A Female Athlete in a Men’s Athletic World: A Discussion with Beth Richardson, ‘79 In this interview, Beth Richardson, a member of the basketball and outdoor track teams at Bowdoin from 1975-1979, discusses her time on campus as a female student-athlete during the first years of coeducation at the College. To hear Beth’s take on […]

Interview with Richard Mersereau, Women’s Basketball Coach, by Jillyan Henrikson ’12

  What About the Female Athletes? A discussion with Richard (Dick) Mersereau, ‘69   In this interview, Richard (Dick) Mersereau, widely known as Mers, discusses his time as a volunteer women’s basketball coach from 1975 until 1981. To hear about Dick’s ability to help improve the circumstances of female athletes on the basketball team during […]

Athletics Focus Group

For this discussion, three women who were among the first female athletes at Bowdoin came together to share their stories. Click the audio links below to listen to Karen Brodie Doyle, ’79 (field hockey, diving, lacrosse), Sally Clayton Caras, ’78 (field hockey and lacrosse), and Ruth Spire Small, ’77 (lacrosse and swimming), discuss their experiences […]

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