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SCU Digital Collections

About this collection

The Santa Clara University's Archives & Special Collections holds an extensive collection of scrapbooks created by SCU community members. These offer a view into the history and culture of the University in an entertaining and informal manner. For information on the complete scrapbook collection, visit our SCU Scrapbook collection finding aid at the Online Archive of California. 



Collection Contents:
Series I: Official Santa Clara University Scrapbooks,
Series II: Unofficial Santa Clara University Scrapbooks,
Series III: Athletics & Recreation Scrapbooks,
Series IV: Women's Athletics & Recreation Scrapbooks,
Series V: Coaching Camp,
Series VI: de Saisset Museum Scrapbooks,
Series VII: Faculty Wives Scrapbooks

We have digitized three of the scrapbooks, from Series IV. Click the links to access the scrapbooks:


Series IV: Women's Athletics & Recreation Scrapbooks,

- Book 82: University of Santa Clara Women’s Basketball, 1978-1983

- Book 83: Women’s Athletics & Recreation, by Marygrace Colby. Book 1, 1963-1972

- Book 84: Women’s Athletics & Recreation, by Marygrace Colby. Book 2, 1973-1981

- Book 85: Women’s Athletics & Recreation, by Marygrace Colby. Book 3, 1981-1986

- Book 86: Women’s Athletics History, by Marygrace Colby, 1963-2014

- Book 87: Women’s Golf History, by Marygrace Colby, 1973-2014



Marygrace Colby and the W.R.A.

The Women's Recreational Association (WRA) scrapbooks were compiled by Marygrace Colby. Colby was hired by Santa Clara University in 1963, two years after women students were admitted to SCU. Her charge was to "direct and instruct women students in various recreational and athletic pursuits." The WRA became official in 1964 with the first fully organized teams in volleyball, basketball and tennis. Coed badminton and bowling teams started competition, along with riflery, sponsored by the ROTC. Competition was in the form of invitational tournaments, including telegraphic meets, where schools competed at home and mailed in their results.scrapbook page about Marygrace Colby


Sewing, knitting, self defense, bike repair and Bridge were started. Powderpuff football began its historic climb to the biggest and most popular intramural program for women. Something for everyone was the motto, on a "just for fun", non-credit basis. Woman students began taking leadership roles in their new association. Service projects for the Athletic Department, along with weekly cupcake sales, raised funds for women's and coed activities. Since the WRA was the only officially recognized organization on campus for women, offerings for all women (meaning women students, faculty and staff) were expected, including swimming lessons for faculty wives and a women's staff bowling league.


History-making events during the 1963-64 academic year included the first women to represent the university in a tennis tournament, with SCU players becoming doubles finalists at the famous Ojai tournament. The first tiny trophy was won for basketball, by defeating Berkeley, San Jose State and Stanford all in one day, with makeshift uniforms and very little practice. To compete, teams usually made only day trips. When overnight trips were necessary, or even allowed, players and their coach took bedrolls and slept on gym floors at the host school. As funds became available, motels were provided. However, this meant five and six players per room, with only one bathroom. Meals were often bag lunches provided by the University. In 1967 the women were granted sole possession of the one and only gym on the SCU campus on Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings. Male students formed a picket line around the building in protest over losing "their" facility for a few hours each week. Even so, female teams still had to find off-campus practice facilities for many years. Finally, by winter, 1974, additional time was allowed for women's teams and activities.scrapbook page about the SCU swim team


The enactment of Title IX in 1972 helped produce rapid growth in competitive activities for women across the country. Sports were no longer an exclusive male realm. As Title IX states, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, be denied benefits, be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." This meant financial assistance, benefits such as better scheduling, equipment, travel, coaching, locker rooms, and accommodation of student interests. Long overdue changes were finally coming. By 1973 the original 1963 dedicated group of thirteen basketball players had grown to over 700 women students, along with many men, involved in 75 activities in the growing coed intramural programs such as jogging, life saving, aquathenics, horseback riding and auto repair.


In the spring of 1975 the Women's Recreation Association held its last officer election, moving in the direction of more emphasis on intercollegiate athletics. By 1978-79, new teams in softball and cross country started and a part time athletic trainer was hired solely for the women's program. In 1982-83 the women celebrated 20 years of programs, which included 6 full time and 5 part time staff in seven sports, with 15.5 scholarships. Most of the Santa Clara women's teams were involved in year round seasons, resulting in the first full time athletic trainer being hired for the women's program during the 1981-1982 school year. In 1986 there was a total merger of women's and men's athletics at Santa Clara. Colby, who had by this time served as Director of Women's Athletics for 23 years, became Assistant Athletics Director, designing the academic support program and overseeing eligibility, financial aid and alcohol and substance programs for more than 300 male and female student athletes.


In keepng with the Tradition of Excellence that exists at Santa Clara, the 1963-1995 years brought about much recognition in terms of outstanding women student athletes. As early as 1972 women were named as Outstanding Athletes of America, Who's Who in American Universities and Santa Clara Student Body Officers. Women student athlete graduates became lawyers, doctors, teachers, and administrators, and in their academic years won NCAA Post Graduate nominations, Academic Americans honors, and were Honda National Athlete of the Year winners, Olympic swimmers and World Cup soccer players.


Upon her retirement in December 1995, Colby was honored with the first named athletic scholarship, specially awarded to a female student athlete. Also, the Annual Colby Women's Intercollegiate Golf Tournament was initiated that year. The Director of Athletics stated, "She influenced hundreds of young women over her thirty-two years at Santa Clara. With her goes a piece of sports history at Santa Clara. She was in the initial move of people organizing and promoting sports for women. Her efforts and determination in the early days set the stage for today's triumphs at Santa Clara."


Content for this page taken from the scrapbooks and from: Colby, Marygrace. (2001). A tradition of excellence.

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