Six exemplary individuals will be inducted into the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 4, during the College's annual Garnet Homecoming and Family Weekend celebration.
The second class to enter the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame consists of Imo Akpan '02 (track and field), Edwin Faulkner (tennis coach), Helen Tomlinson Gibson '41 (field hockey, tennis, basketball), Ed Greene '85 (baseball, football, track and field), Julie Noyes LaFramboise '95 (lacrosse, soccer, field hockey), and Rolf Valtin '48 (soccer).
"We are excited to induct such an accomplished and diverse group of individuals into the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame," says Marian Ware Director of Athletics Adam Hertz. "Last year's inaugural ceremony was an overwhelming success and we are proud to continue the growing tradition of the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame by honoring the Class of 2013, which represents the very best in the rich tradition of Swarthmore Athletics."
The College inducted the inaugural 12-member class at last year's Garnet Weekend festivities.
With the approach of Swarthmore's sesquicentennial in 2014, the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame was established to honor the student-athletes and administrators who have contributed to the College's success. The 2013 class was chosen from more than 200 nominations — double the amount from the previous year — by a selection committee of College administrators, coaches, and alumni for their significant and distinctive impact on Swarthmore College athletics and the College itself.
Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2013
Despite never competing in a track event until arriving at the College, Imo Akpan '02 finished her Swarthmore tenure as one of the school's most accomplished female track athletes. A versatile athlete who excelled in both sprints and jumps, Akpan captured a program-best 13 Centennial Conference championships during her career across a wide range of events, including the 55-meter dash, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, long jump, distance medley relay, and 4 x 400 relay. During a spectacular senior season, Akpan captured All-America honors in both the indoor and outdoor 400 meter runs, was named the Most Outstanding Performer at both the Centennial Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championship meets, was honored as the United States Track Coaches Association Indoor Track Athlete of the Year, and was part of a Garnet 4 x 400 relay team that won the gold medal at the 2002 Penn Relays. A decade after her graduation, Akpan still holds the school record in the 55-meter dash (7.20), 100-meter dash (12.57), 200-meter dash (24.73) and 400-meter dash (56.02). Today, Akpan lives in Chicago and is an internal medicine resident physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital; she plans to do a fellowship in hematology/oncology.
Arguably the most accomplished coach in the history of Swarthmore athletics, Edwin Faulkner (1900-1986) dedicated his life to teaching the game of tennis. While serving as the Garnet men's tennis coach from 1929 to 1970, Faulkner's teams posted a combined record of 377-129 while winning nine conference championships and the 1968 NCAA College Atlantic Coast Regional. Faulkner also coached five U.S. Davis Cup teams (1924, '25, '26, '32, '64), winning three championships. He also coached Davis Cup teams from France, Spain, and Japan. One of the most respected tennis instructors in the history of the sport, he wrote Ed Faulkner's Tennis: How to Play It, How to Teach It, which remains one of the most popular and influential texts in tennis instruction. Faulkner's achievements have earned him a place in the Helms Foundation Tennis Hall of Fame, the Delaware County Sports Hall of Fame, and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame. The College's outdoor tennis courts are named in his honor.
Helen Tomlinson Gibson '41 (1920-2011) was a sports star at the College at a time when few female students garnered that distinction. Gibson served as captain of the Garnet field hockey, women's tennis, and women's basketball teams, excelling in each sport. Gibson's marquee sport was field hockey; she was a second team All‐American in 1940, an All Mid-Atlantic Region performer in 1939 and 1940, and a member of the All-Philadelphia Team in 1939. Following graduation, she played for the U.S. national field hockey team for several years. On the tennis court, Gibson was a two-time captain and finished unbeaten in 1941. On the basketball court, she was a two-time captain and the squad's leading scorer during her junior and senior seasons. Two of her daughters, Barbara '71 and Jeanne '78, attended the College and were varsity athletes.
One of the best multi-sport athletes in Swarthmore history, Ed Greene '85 was an integral member of two of the College's most successful teams. On the diamond, Greene — known as "The Hammer" to his friends and teammates — led the Garnet baseball team to unrivaled success behind his prolific hitting and pitching. During his senior season in 1985, Greene finished 8‐1 on the mound while also hitting .510, helping Swarthmore win its first-ever MAC Championship and first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament behind a program-best 26-7 record. Following graduation, Greene was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the thirteenth round of the Major League Baseball draft and became the first Swarthmore graduate in decades to play professional baseball. On the gridiron, Greene was equally as dominant, helping Swarthmore win three consecutive conference championships (1982, 1983, 1984). Playing a key role on one of the best Garnet football teams in the program's history, he earned second team All-America honors at cornerback as a senior. His 21 career interceptions are a program record and still rank second in Centennial Conference history. Greene, a McCabe Scholar, was also a member of the track and field team. Today, Greene is the assistant director of admissions and records at Mission College in California.
Few student-athletes wearing the Garnet uniform have dominated a sport quite like Julie Noyes LaFramboise '95. Arriving at the College for her sophomore season, LaFramboise was nearly unstoppable on the lacrosse field, achieving records that place her among the best in the history of Swarthmore, the Centennial Conference, and the nation. For her three-year Garnet career, LaFramboise scored a program and conference-record 273 goals and recorded 5.91 goals per game, which remains the highest career scoring average in Division III women's lacrosse history. During her junior season, she netted an incredible 107 goals, breaking the national, conference, and program single-season record. Many of LaFramboise's scoring marks still rank among the best in the history of Division III women's lacrosse, including career points per game (6.72), single-season points per game (7.81) and single-season goals per game (6.69). LaFramboise's accolades on the lacrosse field include a pair of All-America honors (1994 and 1995), three All-Region honors (1993, 1994, and 1995), and Centennial Conference Player of the Year honors during her senior season (1995). LaFramboise is the granddaughter of Ed Noyes ('31), Jean Walton Noyes ('32), Ned Williams ('34) and Louise Stubbs Williams ('34) and daughter of Jim and Susan Noyes (Jim coached the College's men's lacrosse team from 1978 to 1985). She lives in Atlanta with husband Tim and children Jamie, 12, and Audrey, 10. She coaches girls' lacrosse at the varsity high school level.
Rolf Valtin '48 had an unusual but unforgettable Garnet career. During his freshman year, Valtin - a German immigrant whose original surname was Wiegelmesser - was a standout on the Swarthmore soccer team, earning All-America honors. Following that year, Valtin left the College to become a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the height of World War II, participating in the Normandy invasion on Omaha Beach. He returned to the College in 1946 and resumed his remarkable career, earning All-America honors and scoring a then-program-record 11 goals in 1947. Valtin's play earned him a place on the U.S. Olympic soccer team, sending him to the 1948 London Summer Olympics. Valtin also scored in a 4-1 friendly victory over Israel on Oct. 10 of that year. A retired arbitrator, Valtin lives in Alexandria, Va., with his wife, Nancy Eberle Valtin '47.
If you would like to nominate a former student-athlete, coach, or administrator, please send your nominations to the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame.