We will be cheering on the UO women’s basketball team as they compete in this weekend’s NCAA Division I Championship. Led by record-setting junior Sabrina Ionescu, the team reached the Final Four for the first time in the program’s history. Read more about this historic accomplishment in a recent article on Around the O.
The history of UO women’s basketball extends back to the 1894-1895 school year, when students competed infrequently on interclass teams.
We proudly celebrate the recent accomplishments of the UO women’s track and field team winning third place, winning 1st place in the distance medley relay, and winning the 3,000m individual title at the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The current exhibit, “Oregon Spirit: The Legacy of Track and Field,” highlights some key moments in the history of women’s track and field. The Women’s Athletic Association was founded in 1913, which offered additional opportunities for women to engage in athletics beyond physical education courses. According to the 1914 edition of the Oregana:
The first athletic organization ever to be perfected in the University in the interests of women’s athletics is the Women’s Athletic Association, which was organized during the past year. The purpose of this association is to encourage athletics among the women of the University and to develop a physically more efficient Oregon woman. (p.261)
Women participated in intramural, interclass and intercollegiate contests. The exhibit includes two field day programs featuring track contests held on the hockey field, and on cemetery ridge.
And her spirit’s always loyal,
And we’ll have the world to know
That the bonds can ne’er be broken,
Formed in the dear old U.O.
—“There’s a Pretty Little Village,” circa 1910
University of Oregon Libraries is pleased to announce an exhibit titled Oregon Spirit: The Legacy of Track and Field, now on display from January 7th to March 22nd in the Special Collections and University Archives Paulson Reading Room.
The University of Oregon proudly celebrates over 100 years of track and field. Led by illustrious coaches, student-athletes defied the limits of human performance before an audience of devoted fans. Drawing upon 20 collections, these curated items reveal a palpable spirit that transcends generations. The legacy of track and field is built on enduring tradition and dynamic innovation.
SCUA recently received two accessions documenting UO track and field history. The items were donated by two alumni, Clayton Steinke and Kenny Moore, who competed during the 1960s under head coach Bill Bowerman. These new materials complement existing administrative and coaching collections, but also contribute to understanding the unique perspective of the student-athlete. Coincidentally, both accessions include uniforms that provide a visual component of the legacy of UO track and field.
In 1962, four members of the UO team broke the world record for the four by one mile relay. Later that year, Steinke served as an alternate runner on the UO team invited to compete in the same relay distance in a meet against the New Zealand national team. As representatives of both the United States of America, and the University of Oregon, Bowerman devised a unique uniform. In order to satisfy the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), the resulting singlet and shirt include references to the AAU and USA, but also pays homage to the University of Oregon. In addition to his uniform, Steinke donated his letterman’s jacket, scrapbooks, a memoir, correspondence and photographs.
This is the ninth of a series of blog posts highlighting the ongoing work of the Documenting UO History Project within the University Archives. A major part of this project is researching and documenting the often untold and hidden histories of the university’s diverse and underrepresented communities. This year our focus will continue to highlight Black history on campus, specifically Black student activism from the 1960s to present. Prior posts can be seen here.
The Governor — and others — have complained that President Olum can’ t have it both ways — continue to assert that the University of Oregon is of the quality of some of the best public universities in the United States and argue at the same time that faculty salaries at the University of Oregon are abysmally low compared with other institutions, and that this makes it extremely difficult to compete in the hiring of the best young faculty and in retaining our leading senior faculty against very large offers from various universities. Now, the truth is that it really is both ways. Our salaries are terribly, dangerously low and yet we are surely among the best 20 public universities in the United States and, in a number of areas, significantly better even than that. -President Olum, State of the university Address, 1987
Paul Olum stepped into the role of university president at Oregon with decades of academic experience. Having just served as provost at the University of Oregon, Olum had been groomed to take over for President Boyd (see previous post on Boyd). Olum started his illustrious academic career in mathematics, even working on the Manhattan Project at one point. He earned his bachelors in physics from Princeton in 1940, an M.A in physics from Princeton in 1942, and a PhD in mathematics from Harvard in 1947. Olum later served as a very popular and distinguished professor of mathematics at Cornell, and had a short stint at the University of Texas before beginning his tenure at Oregon.
Olum quickly developed a positive repoire with both students and staff. Politically progressive, Olum publically called for nuclear disarmament and fought to make the University of Oregon more inclusive for all students. Although Olum’s tenure avoided the contention that filled the 1960s and 1970s, Olum faced recurring budget restraints and struggled to recruit more minority students to the Eugene campus.