Five exemplary individuals and a men's lacrosse dynasty have been named to the 2018 class of the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame and will be inducted on the evening of Friday, Oct. 26, during Swarthmore’s annual Garnet Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration.
The seventh class to enter the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame consists of Michele Fowler-Stewart ’86, Liz Gilbert Osterman ’77, Lee MacPhail Jr. ’39, Robert Ruffin ’92, Katie Tarr ’02, and the 1982–85 men’s lacrosse teams.
Established in 2012, the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame honors the student-athletes and administrators who have contributed to the College’s success. The 2018 class was chosen from more than 200 nominations by a selection committee of administrators, coaches, and alumni for their significant and distinctive impact on Swarthmore College athletics and the College itself.
2018 Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame Class
Michele Fowler-Stewart ’86 was the first goalie for the upstart varsity women’s soccer team and graduated as the leading scorer for the women’s basketball team. She also played for two seasons on the softball team. Fowler-Stewart, a captain in soccer and basketball for multiple seasons, made an impact on both the pitch and the court. In soccer, she is credited with two of the most prolific years in goal in program history with 166 saves in 1984 and 168 in 1985, both in the program’s top five, and once saved 26 shots in a match against Franklin & Marshall in 1983. On the court, Fowler-Stewart helped the Garnet to a winning record in her four-year career. She played before the advent of the three-point line in women’s college basketball and still scored 1,738 points, a school record that stood until 2002. Fowler-Stewart still holds the record for most field goals made in a career with 755, is fifth all-time in career steals with 209, and is 10th all-time in free throws made with 228.
Elizabeth Gilbert Osterman ’77 excelled in field hockey, squash, and women’s lacrosse at Swarthmore and went on to national success in each sport, playing in the field hockey and lacrosse national intercollegiate tournaments. With the Garnet, Gilbert Osterman went 28–6–6 with the field hockey team and 21–12–2 as a member of the women’s lacrosse team. She earned a spot on the All-College and All-Philadelphia teams each year and won the school’s May E. Perry Award her senior year. In her final two lacrosse seasons, Gilbert Osterman averaged 4.2 goals per game, and in her senior campaign was named to the United States Women’s Lacrosse First Team as the first Swarthmore woman to earn that honor. Her lacrosse skills took her all the way to Australia with the U.S. Touring Team in 1981, where she starred as the team’s center. Gilbert Osterman went on to law school and eventually became the deputy chief counsel of the Division of Investment Management at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Lee MacPhail Jr. ’39 is enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., in the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as in the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame. MacPhail played both baseball and football in the 1930s at Swarthmore. He commanded the “hot corner” of the baseball diamond as a third baseman and was credited for his stellar play as a center in football in the 1939 edition of the Halcyon. After Swarthmore, MacPhail worked for the New York Yankees and became the director of the team’s farm system in the 1940s, helping build a team that would go on to win seven World Series titles. He took a job as the president and general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, then led the Yankees as general manager. In 1974, MacPhail became the president of the American League. During his 10 years in that role, he expanded the league by two teams and helped bring an end to the strike of 1981. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998, joining father Larry MacPhail, a former baseball executive, as the first father/son duo in the Hall. MacPhail died in 2012 at age 95.
Robert Ruffin Jr. ’92 made his presence known on the football field and basketball court for the Garnet. The 6-foot-4 Ruffin demolished opposing offenses in both sports. In football, Ruffin racked up more than 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons and even had the school record for blocking five kicks in one season. He earned All-Centennial Conference First-Team laurels at linebacker in 1989 and 1990 and was also named a preseason All-American. A team captain entering his senior year, Ruffin suffered a knee injury after two games, ending his football career. While Ruffin could not finish his senior season on the gridiron, he fought to return to the basketball court and played in the final 18 games of that season. In his junior year, he helped Swarthmore win the Middle Atlantic Conference Southeast and set a then-program record for wins in a season with 17. In four years of basketball, Ruffin played in 91 games, scoring 800 points, grabbing 768 rebounds, and blocking 148 shots. His total rebounds and blocked shots remained school records until 2008.
Katie Tarr ’02 was a standout three-sport athlete and captain at Swarthmore who played in every single possible varsity contest all four years, save two field hockey contests at the beginning of her freshman year. In field hockey, Tarr played defense and helped the Garnet to a 44–28 record over the four-year span, while earning All-Centennial Conference First Team honors in 2000 and 2001 and earning All-Region Second Team honors in 2000. On the court, Tarr played in 106 career games as the program compiled a 70–36 record and won its first Centennial Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament game. She especially excelled in lacrosse, earning All-Conference honors and All-Region Second Team honors in each of her four seasons. She led the Garnet in scoring each year, tallying at least 63 goals per season and finishing her career with 260 goals, the most in Centennial Conference history at the time.
The 1982, ’83, ’84, and ’85 men’s lacrosse teams enjoyed a period of success that resulted in a 42–11 record, four conference championship appearances, three conference titles, and the program’s only trip to the NCAA Tournament. The teams were coached by Jim Noyes, who arrived in 1978 and helped resuscitate a program that hadn’t had a winning season since 1970. Noyes replenished a depleted roster with a blend of talented lacrosse players and a group of exceptional athletes who had never played the sport before. Noyes would be named the Middle Atlantic Conference’s coach of the year three times. During the four-year run, the Garnet averaged 12.5 goals per game, powered by Joe Valis ’83, Billy Gericke ’83, Bobby Cooney ’84, and Jerry Hood ’86. At the same time, the standard was set for an excellent defense, led by Scott Jordan ’82, John Scott ’85, Greg Brunner ’83, Pat Carney ’87, Hans Hurdle ’85, John Hiros ’85, and Brian Wall ’85 that limited opponents to an average of 6.9 goals per game during the era.