Athletic Hall of Fame Room Honors Arcadia’s Pride and Success

By Purnell T. Cropper | March 2, 2012

The Athletic Hall of Fame room, a nostalgic gem at the heart of Kuch Center, celebrates Arcadia University’s athletic success. The space chronicles the University’s longstanding winning tradition, from the women who led Beaver athletics abroad to the early inclusion of male athletes, and now Arcadia’s NCAA athletes.

In addition to individual and team awards and trophies, the room features a photo mural that breathes life into Arcadia’s athletics foundation. “The photos in the mural represent the full history of athletics at Arcadia, not just Hall of Fame athletes,” says Shirley Liddle, Athletics Director.

“The Hall of Fame Room is the perfect place for our Quad A to meet,” says President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III, referring to the newly formed Arcadia Athletic Alumni Association. “That is going to be a powerful group for us, to encourage our student athletes to excellence and to allow alumni athletes to network with themselves and with today’s students. It will be a power source for us for years to come.”

In an effort to uphold the prestige of recognition the University expects of the space, the Athletic Hall of Fame room is available only for high-profile meetings. “We wanted to have a professional meeting room that honored years of Arcadia and Beaver athletics,” says Dr. Jan Walbert, Vice President for Development.

Coaches will use the Hall of Fame Room to connect with prospective student-athletes and their parents. “Having recruitment meetings in the Hall of Fame room reassures those prospective student-athletes that we have pride in our athletics and a firm history of success,” says Walbert.

The College had a powerhouse athletic program in the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, boasting undefeated teams. Many athletes earned All-College and All Philadelphia honors, similar to today’s All-American accolades, while others represented their country as members of the United States Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse teams.

A serious contender in competitions with Temple, Ursinus, West Chester, Villanova and Bryn Mawr, the College was known for its athletic triumphs and academic excellence. This excellence crossed the great waters as women toured England and other countries in competition representing the United States.

“Beaver was doing the study abroad thing way before its time,” adds Liddle about the women travelers.

For a short time in the 1800s and early 1900s, men proudly represented the College as baseball and basketball athletes.

“At the far right of the room is a photo of the 1903 men’s basketball team…. One of those little known facts: Beaver College was co-ed for a period early in its history,” says Liddle.

Additionally, the College had competitive programs in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA), a national organization similar to the NCAA for small schools’ athletic programs, in the 1980s and early 1990s. The College also was a member of the Philadelphia Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (PAIAW), a local conference for competition between universities and colleges in the Philadelphia and suburban areas.

After being NCAA approved and joining the PAC in 1993, the College earned respect for multiple men’s and women’s teams, capitalizing on their strengths on the soccer field.

“We had a lot of success in that conference from 1992 to 2004,” says Liddle.

The Athletic Hall of Fame room holds trophies that represent all the sports over the past two decades. It is a representation of the growth of the athletic program and a reflection on the University’s excellence.

The Hall of Fame room is dedicated in honor of Joseph Castle, who served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. A warm and extraordinary business leader, scholar and athlete, Castle was the Founder and CEO of Castle Energy Corp.