The University of Pennsylvania Athletic Department established the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 to honor the greatest student-athletes and coaches ever to wear and coach the Red and Blue. After five induction ceremonies, the list of honorees has grown to include 139 people who helped create Penn’s rich athletic history and tradition.
Auretha Fleming, EAS’84
Auretha Fleming was a rock-solid player for the University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team, for which she was co-captain and a Father’s Trophy Award winner in 1984. Also in her senior year, Fleming was honored by being named first-team All-Ivy League and second-team All-Philadelphia Big 5. Her freshman year, Fleming was the runner-up Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
Fleming was inducted into the Philadelphia Big 5 Hall of Fame in February, 1991, and at that time, was the Red and Blue’s top career rebounder (749) and second-best scorer (1,093 points).
During her career, she also established Penn records for career field goal percentage (.446) and career steals (205), leading the Quakers to a 28-12 Ivy League record during her four-year career
Fleming was also named to the Women’s Sports Federation All-Northeast Region team her senior year. Her most recent accolade came when she was voted by her peers to represent the University of Pennsylvania on the Ivy League Silver Anniversary Honor Roll during the 25th Anniversary of Ivy League Women’s Athletics Celebration in 1997-98.
Cynthia Johnson Crowley, CW’52
Cynthia Johnson Crowley was virtually unstoppable in her three seasons playing basketball for the Quakers, as Penn averaged 45 points per game from 1949-52, Crowley accounted for over 21 points per game. Her third year, Crowley bucketed over 26 points per game, even though women played a 32-minute game, unlike the current 40-minute standard. Eight times during her career, Crowley outscored the opposition, and she was benched after the third quarter of one game so Penn wouldn’t run up the score.
Including basketball, Crowley amassed 12 letters over her four-year career. On the links, Crowley captained the Penn golf team for three seasons, and earned a victory at the prestigious 18-Hole Invitational in 1952.
She was a three-year letterwinner in softball as well, for which she played centerfield and first base, and consistently hit in the three-, four- and five- spots. Crowley’s final two letters were earned as a member of Penn’s badminton squad, for which she competed in doubles competition.
Crowley was elected to Athlon, Penn’s former women’s athletic honor society, and she was the vice president for her senior class. Since graduation, Crowley has been an avid supporter of Penn athletics, having subsidized the Harschberger-Johnson-Brendel Award and, along with her daughter, donated the Ivy League Softball Championship Team Trophy. In 1997, the Cynthia Johnson Crowley Team Room was dedicated in The Palestra to honor her commitment to the University of Pennsylvania.
Betsy Crothers Hawthorne, Ed’46, GEd’48
Betsy Crothers laid an important foundation for today’s female student-athletes at the University of Pennsylvania when she was a varsity letterwinner at Penn from 1942-46. Crothers was an active participant in four intercollegiate sports, as well as an integral part of the college community on numerous levels.
As a senior in 1945, Crothers led the Penn field hockey team to its first undefeated season with a 5-0-1 record. Seven players were chosen All-League that season and Crothers was named Who’s Who in American Colleges. One of the biggest events that year was the founding of Athlon (the Greek word for Athletics) as an athletic honor society for women at Penn. Crothers was elected as a charter member and she and her fellow hockey teammates were awarded gold hockey sticks to commemorate their championship season. Crothers also held the high honor of being the president of the WAA (Women's Athletic Association) from 1945-46.
During her years at Penn, Crothers played a key role in helping basketball, softball, badminton, swimming, hockey, tennis, bowling and lacrosse become varsity sports at Penn. She was also a member of the first class of women to be inhabitants of Weightman Hall, formerly an exclusively male facility. For her work as a true pioneer of women's sports, Crothers was awarded the Father's Trophy Award in 1946.
Honors and accolades abound, Crothers was a true all-star while an undergraduate at Penn. She was a two-time captain of the field hockey, basketball and tennis teams. She was named to the Mid-Atlantic College All-Star Hockey Team for three years and served as its captain in 1944 and 1945. Her basketball exploits earned her consecutive nominations to the Metropolitan All-Star first-team and she was named an All-American in lacrosse for four-straight seasons. Off the fields and courts, Crothers was on the Mortar Board, the WAA executive board and was an Athlon charter member.
Anne B. Townsend, Ed’27
Anne Townsend was an athletic icon even before she stepped on the playing fields at Penn. An important part of the rise of field hockey in the United States, Townsend continued that development as a member of several national teams throughout the course of her life. She was a true "sports enthusiast" and her good will was recognized around the world.
Townsend helped begin the U.S. Field Hockey Association and her reign as the captain of the U.S. field hockey team ran from 1924-38 (and again in 1947). During this time, she was a driving force behind the establishment of the Women's Athletic Association at Penn, participating on the Quakers' field hockey and basketball teams.
In 1921, the University of Pennsylvania began its first official season of intercollegiate field hockey, but no definitive schedule was produced. The team had a great interest throughout campus and wound up playing the Temple field hockey team in its first-ever varsity contest. The Quakers had a much better showing than anyone had expected, losing to Temple by just two goals.
The first season of intercollegiate women's basketball at the University of Pennsylvania was in 1921-22. Townsend captained the team from the forward position to a 5-6 overall record. Penn defeated the likes of Pittsburgh, George Washington, Adelphi, College of Osteopathy and Drexel.