Introduction of Kate Donovan, presented by Audrey Evers, Class of 2019 and Women's Lacrosse Team member
Title IX of the Education Amendments, the landmark federal civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, was passed on June 23, 1972. Thanks to that very important legislation, athletic opportunities for women began to increase all around our nation, and here at Tufts, in the 1970’s and the early 1980’s.
One Jumbo student-athlete who took particular advantage of those opportunities was an outstanding multi-sport athlete named Kate Donovan. Arriving at Tufts in 1980, Kate somehow managed to earn 13 varsity letters in five different sports, including basketball, diving, field hockey, lacrosse and squash -- and rumor has it she may have unofficially earned a varsity letter in a sixth sport as well. As her friends Norma Massarotti and Diane Wilcox attest, they were short one runner for a relay event at one of their indoor track meets. They ran into Kate who had just finished basketball practice and shared their predicament with her. Not wanting the relay to be disqualified, and true to her “up for anything to help my teammates” attitude, Kate ran the relay with them in her basketball practice gear.
In field hockey, Kate was an All-American whose five assists in a 1982 game against MIT remains an NCAA record to this day. More than 30 years after hanging up her stick, Kate remains the Jumbo record-holder for assists in a career with 28, assists in a season with 15, and assists in a game with five. With 22 career goals to compliment her 28 assists, Kate is eighth on the Tufts all-time scoring list. And as a senior in an era when Tufts teams were not permitted to compete in NCAA tournament play, Kate captained the 1983 Tufts field hockey team to an 11-1-1 record and a MAIAW championship.
In lacrosse, Kate was a stalwart on both ends of the field and helped her team win the 1982 NEICLA Championship. Just as in field hockey, her lacrosse teammates selected her as team captain during her senior year. And those same teammates point to Kate as the team leader who set the tone for the incredible run of success the women’s lacrosse program experienced over the five years after Kate’s graduation. She also set the tone, we’re told, for a late-night team activity that resulted in a 2:00 am phone call to the Director of Athletics -- more on that later this evening.
Across all five…or six…sports she played, Kate was the consummate teammate and leader who always inspired others to achieve more than they thought possible. And for her amazing athletics accomplishments, Kate was recognized as the best female athlete with the 1984 Hester Sargent Award.
"Kate brings out the absolute best in anyone who wants it brought out," said Cecelia Wilcox Magargee, a member of the 1985 women’s lacrosse team that is being inducted this year, and who played lacrosse with Donovan from 1982-84. "She challenged us every day - sometimes with her words, but always with her actions. At the root of the challenge was fun. Competitive fun. We were all willing to run through a brick wall for Kate, because we knew she was going to be there in front of us, taking the hardest hit, and laughing."
I’m told that Kate was affectionately known as “Kate the Great.” What a great legacy! Please help me welcome “Kate the Great” Donovan into the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame.