AMHERST, Mass. – As part of Amherst College's recent Reunion Weekend festivities, the Friends of Amherst Athletics (FAA) sponsored a panel featuring five female alumnae ranging in class years from 1981-2016 to discuss the evolution of women's athletics at Amherst over the last 40 years.
The panel, which was held in Stirn Auditorium and was entitled "Forty Years Into the Games, Meets and Matches: How Much Has Changed in Women's Athletics at Amherst," was directed by Michelle Morgan – Professor of Physical Education and Athletics.
Morgan, who has spent nearly 40 years at Amherst and has coached golf, squash, basketball, lacrosse and soccer, led the discussion with the panelists which included Amy Skilbred '81, Gail (Regenstreif) Glick '91, Rebecca Ginzburg '01, Christina Wong '11, and Brianna Cook '16.
Skilbred entered Amherst in 1977 as part of its second full coeducational class and was a four-sport athlete competing in tennis, skiing, squash and lacrosse. Skilbred was also the first woman to receive the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy which is awarded annually to the member of the senior class who brought Amherst the greatest honor (achievement and sportsmanship) in athletics.
During her time at Amherst, Glick played on the soccer and ice hockey teams – earning All-American honors on the pitch. She also served as the soccer team captain during her senior year.
Ginzburg spent four years on the Amherst crew team and was a captain in her senior year.
Wong ran cross country and indoor/outdoor track competing in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter events, and was a two-year captain of the cross country team, and captained the track team in her senior season. Wong was a first-year runner on the Purple & White's 2007 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship team.
An Amherst graduate last month, Cook was a four-year starter on its softball team, posting remarkably impressive and consistent offensive hitting/slugging statistics during her time on the diamond.
Morgan opened the session with a tribute to the pioneering women's crew who, in the spring of 1976, competed as Amherst's first women's intercollegiate/varsity sports program.
Morgan told the attendees, "We owe much to these women for their important role in helping launch what would become, forty years later, one of Amherst's storied women's athletic programs. Their courage, spirit, camaraderie, and competitiveness live on in Amherst's women crews today."
The hour-long discussion that followed touched upon a number of different academic/athletic areas and experiences including recruitment, varsity and club sports, conference and national tournament play, campus/faculty/administration support, as well as personal and team athletic achievements fondly remembered by the panelists.
"It struck me that much has changed over 40 years in Amherst women's athletics yet the participants expressed so many similarities about their athletic experiences," Morgan explained. "It was comforting to know that the values of a student's athletic experience at Amherst are still intact."
A native of New Jersey, Skilbred moved to Juneau, Alaska in 1988 and currently resides there. She has worked for several government entities (Fish and Game, Environmental Conservation, and the Legislature), run for public office, coached the local high school tennis team, volunteered as a soccer coach, and has actively supported her community through a number of different roles. She has operated her own consulting firm specializing in research, grant writing, and meeting facilitation focusing on energy and climate change. She is currently the Executive Director of the Juneau Community Foundation and holds a master's degree in Fine Arts from Johns Hopkins University (International Economics).
Glick was raised in Rochester, N.Y. and currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif. An honors graduate of Amherst in American Studies and English, she earned a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and is a founding and active partner in an employee-side employment law firm in Santa Monica, Calif. (Alexander Krakow & Glick LLP). She has also served as president and treasurer of the Amherst Alumni Association in southern California and is a former AYSO soccer coach.
Hailing from Silver Spring, Md., Ginzburg earned a law degree from Boston University School of Law and coached high school crew in Cambridge, Mass. following her graduation from Amherst. After time in private practice, she transitioned to a higher education practice at Harvard University and then Boston University where she is currently Associate General Counsel. She is an associate agent for the Alumni Fund and participates in alumni-student mentoring and networking initiatives.
A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School this past May, Wong, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, returned to her home state after graduation from Amherst in 2011 and began as a social worker helping homeless people before working as a paralegal for a law firm. In September, Wong will begin working as a public defender in New York City.
Cook, a New Jersey native, was an Environmental Studies major during her four years at Amherst and was involved in Amherst Green Athletics – a student organization dedicated to improving the sustainability of Amherst's athletic department. She was also a member of the Student-Athletes of Color organization and will continue her involvement on campus with Amherst's "mascot" having agreed to serve on the newly-formed Mascot Committee together with other alumni, students, and College staff.