Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
News Release

December 22, 2003

Pioneering Pro Golfer Suzy Whaley to Keynote Feb. 19 Grand Opening of Smith College's Olin Fitness Center

Editor's note: High-res digital photos of Whaley are available by e-mailing

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Suzy Whaley, the first woman to qualify for a PGA tour event since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945, will discuss the role of sports in women's academic and career success when Smith College dedicates its new Olin Fitness Center.

Whaley's keynote address at Smith will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in Ainsworth Gymnasium. The event is free and open to the public.

Whaley, a 36-year-old club pro who played collegiate golf at the University of North Carolina and briefly on the LPGA Tour in the early 1990s, teed it up against the men at the Greater Hartford Open (GHO) last summer. Under intense media scrutiny, she played the course's full 6,820 yard, beating or tying the scores of six male pros.

Described by the Boston Herald as "a mother who happens to make a living as a golf pro, albeit a golf pro very much in the limelight," Whaley has two daughters, ages 8 and 6. She is a Class A Member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional division, a Class A Member of the PGA of America and the Head Professional at Blue Fox Run, a public golf course in Avon, Conn.

Whaley is a fitting speaker for the center's opening, notes Smith's Director of Athletics Lynn Oberbillig, because of the emphasis she places on physical and mental preparation as keys for success. In a recent article in Golf for Women, Whaley recounted the focused daily strength-training regimen, including free weights and core muscle exercises, she used in training for the GHO. "I never imagined I could be as physically strong or as mentally tough as I've become," she wrote, "and I'm swinging with more power and confidence than ever before."

With its state-of-the-art machines and light-filled workout space, Smith's new fitness center is, in Oberbillig's words, a "showcase facility." The 4,800-square-foot, glass-walled, sky-lighted center was designed by the Boston-based firm of Leers Weinzapfel Associates. It houses 33 new pieces of aerobic equipment -- including treadmills, ellipticals, and upright and recumbent LifeCycles, each with personal television viewing screens; 40 new weight machines; and extensive free-weight equipment. In all, some100 people will be able to exercise at the same time.

The $4-million facility was made possible by a gift from the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Foundation in honor of Barbara Olin Taylor, a 1954 Smith graduate, and Judy Olin Higgins, a 1958 Smith graduate.

Whaley's keynote address is sponsored by OppenheimerFunds, Inc., one of the largest and best-known asset management companies in the United States and a member of MassMutual Financial Group. MassMutual will sponsor the display of selected photographs from the noted exhibition "Game Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?" during and after the fitness center's grand opening festivities. "Game Face" is a widely acclaimed traveling photo exhibition that celebrates women and sports. Support of the keynote and the photo display reflect both companies' commitment to supporting women's professional and personal endeavors.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

Smith in the News

News Releases

Contact Us

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z