Patrica Kirby with 1976 basketball team cocaptains

Women's basketball coach Patricia Kirby (center) celebrating with team captains Laura Silvieus, AB’78, MBAʼ83 (left), and Vadis Cothran, AB’78, at the 1976 Brown University Invitational. (UChicago Photographic Archive, University of Chicago LIbrary)

Top 5 firsts in women’s athletics

Ready, set, go!

Gertrude Dudley

UChicago’s first women’s athletics director, from 1898 to 1935. Her athletics program for women was the first of its kind at a major American university.

Marie Ortmayer, PhB 1906, MD 1917

First president of the University’s Women’s Athletic Association.

Mary Jean Mulvaney

Director of women’s athletics beginning in 1966; under Mulvaney UChicago women entered intercollegiate competition for the first time. Also one of the first women on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Council and, in 1976, to chair a coed athletics department, retiring in 1990.

Patricia Kirby

Women’s basketball coach in 1974, when her team was the first women’s team in the country to fly to an away game (at MIT).

Naomy Grand’Pierre, Class of 2019

The first Olympic swimmer to compete for Haiti. She swam the 50-meter freestyle in the 2016 summer games.