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2016 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony


Saturday, February 20, 2016
Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

February 20, 2016

[Scott Kilgallon introduces President Stroble]

Thank you, Scott, and welcome everyone.  It is an honor to be with you this evening to celebrate with the new Hall of Fame inductees and the two other award winners this evening. 

At Webster we take great pride in our school spirit and Athletic teams and this is a wonderful chance to reflect on those who laid the foundation to get Gorlok Athletics to where we are today. 

The Pioneer Award was created last year and is an exciting opportunity to find student stories from our history and sharing them with a wider audience today . . . stories that are captured in old photos and yearbooks in the Archives, or remembered by former students visiting campus for their reunions.  It is the collective stories of all the students, faculty and staff who have passed through the halls of Webster since its founding in 1915 that come together to form the history of this institution, and I am here to tell you about one particular story.

Tonight, we honor Susan Perabo, a Webster alumna, who blazed a new trail not only at Webster, but in NCAA sport.

In 1987, Susan joined and competed on our Men’s Baseball team becoming the first woman ever to play NCAA Baseball.  Amazingly, Susan wasn’t even aware she was making history. 

Luigi Scire, our current Women’s Soccer Head Coach, was one of Susan’s teammates.  Luigi remembers Susan as just another teammate.  The men on the team accepted her like any other teammate.  Susan worked hard, played hard and enjoyed playing the game just like the rest of her teammates. 

Niel DeVasto, our current Sports Information Director, was the Director of Athletics during Susan’s time as a Gorlok.  Niel has fond memories watching Susan compete.  He describes her as a shy student-athlete who just wanted to play and preferred not to be the center of attention.  Sports photographers would come to the games trying to get a picture of Susan’s historic season and they would be disappointed when she’d hide in the dugout to avoid their cameras.

Her extraordinary milestone made bigger headlines than just the local papers.  The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY created an exhibit about Women in Baseball and our own Susan Perabo was honored with a plaque that stated she was the first female collegiate baseball player.  

After a noteworthy athletic career as a Baseball and Women’s Basketball student-athlete, Susan excelled in the classroom and graduated in 1989 with a BA in English.  Susan went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.  

Today, Susan is Writer in Residence and Associate Professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. She is the author of the just-released “Why They Run the Way They Do” a collection of 12 short stories celebrating the everyday truths of people facing unusual or challenging situations. Additionally, her story collection, “Who I Was Supposed to Be,” was published in 1999 by Simon & Schuster, and named a "Book of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, and The St. Louis Post Dispatch.  Susan, thank you for being an inspiration to young women, and for making a lasting impression on Webster University Athletics.   

Will you please step forward to receive the 2016 “Athletic Pioneer Award” from our inaugural Pioneer Award Winner Helen Comer?