Office of University Communications
From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:
Rudd, Bessie H.
Bessie Huntting Rudd (1895-1978), director of physical education at Pembroke College, was born in Albion, New York, on June 4, 1895. A graduate of Radcliffe College in 1917, she played varsity field hockey and was captain of the women’s basketball team. She received a certificate of hygiene and physical education from Wellesley College in 1924. She was assistant in the Department of Physical Education at Radcliffe College from 1918 to 1922, and assistant director of physical education from 1924 to 1930, when she became director of physical education at Pembroke. She was promoted to associate professor of physical education in 1944 and named full professor in 1952. Miss Rudd was an authority on field hockey. She wrote frequently for the National Field Hockey Guide, and was its editor in 1944. In 1931 she was elected a national A-rated field hockey umpire. She retired in 1961, at which time the Bessie H. Rudd Award was established, to be presented annually to the woman who did the most to advance women’s athletics at Brown. In 1975 she was the first woman to be inducted into the Brown Athletic Hall of Fame. She was a firm believer in the importance of sports for all students and the four-year physical education requirement. She was of the opinion that Title IX, which mandated equal treatment for women’s athletics, actually would ruin sports for women by stressing varsity sports. She was widely quoted in newspapers across the country as saying, “Let the women have their sports, and let the men have theirs. I see no reason for ice hockey for women. And I certainly don’t see any reason for football.” She favored compulsory physical education for all four years of college, and disapproved when the requirement was reduced to three years in 1960 and later abolished. She was against the merger of Brown and Pembroke, and observed, “Pembroke lost its entity and identity and gained nothing of significant value.” Asked once about her continuous smoking, she pointed out that she did not inhale nor did she ever smoke more than half of a cigarette. She was a staunch defender of the Republican party in all circumstances and had a collection of elephants. She enjoyed traveling, and visited all of the states except Alaska, often fitting in visits to other physical education departments. She remained active in retirement, and at the age of 80 traveled to the University of Edinburgh to be Honorary National Umpire of the United States Field Hockey Association at the World Championship Tournament of the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations. She died in Providence on January 11, 1978.
The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright ©1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.