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.
"Penn sports were always tough because we played many schools with physical education major departments many times larger than ours. Every honor we achieved was won dearly...My Penn memories are among my most precious; the dear and great people of the Penn Women's Athletic Department, including Mrs. Hildegarde Farquhar, Miss Elizabeth Burdick, Dorie Kelman and Dr. Holtel, Dean of Women." - Betsy Crothers Hawthorne