2001 Hall of Fame Inductees

1934 Field Hockey Team - Mary Fran Shaff Meekison - Marvin Wood
Dr. Jo-Ann Nester - Dr. Debra Laverie - Meghan Rafferty Weldon
Kelly Ann Cook Collins - Karen Lynn Lorton
Megan Marie Dalsasso - Nicole Hill Colucci


1934 Field Hockey Team

It seems so fitting as we again enact the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame that the 1934 Field Hockey Team is the first to be inducted into this 2001 Ceremony. It is with great pride and respect that we have Anne Prikosovits Stemnock ’38 with us today to accept this honor on behalf of her teammates.

Anne, you and your teammates embarked on a path that no one went down or on before. At the time, I am sure that you never fully realized the impact that your team’s first competition would have on the history, and future, of hundreds of Saint Mary’s student-athletes to follow you.

The South Bend Tribune gives us a little insight into this marvelous moment in time. “Saint Mary’s College will make its first venture into the field of intercollegiate athletics when a team of twelve students participants in a Play Day. The Saint Mary’s hockey team, registered for the Play Day in Jackson Park, Chicago on November 10, 1934. This sports event for colleges and universities attracted to the South Side Fields about a dozen teams from regional schools.”

The article continued to give us a feel for the mood of campus. “Excitement on the old home campus was at a high pitch as the team prepared for its first foray into intercollegiate sports; a rousing pep rally and bonfire, followed by a benefit spaghetti dinner in the recreation hall, hockey insignia sold to well the athletic fund, a thousand good wished sped the team on its way to Jackson Park. Saint Mary’s team was scheduled for three games. One with Lake Forest College, whose team defaulted by a nonappearance; one with Battle Creek College, which won a 2-0 game; and the Chicago University game which gave your team the headlines.”

The team’s coach, Miss Isabel Kane, a physical culture instructor at Saint Mary’s College, received a letter from an observer that enhances our insight into this first off campus athletic venture for Anne and her teammates. The observer was so moved so as to extend a sincere tribute to the team. This individual went on to write how “sportsmanlike the team was from beginning to end. The team fought courageously, as they tied the University of Chicago 0-0, who was a much more experienced team. The team competed with grace and a brave resignation that stayed with this observer for many years to come.” The observer continued to develop a great admiration for the Saint Mary’s team. He wrote, “that after participating in many sporting events himself, he could not recall a finer exhibition of sportsmanship.”

This 1934 Field Hockey team’s standard of unity, excellence, and spirit embodies our program today thus giving us our 2001-2002 Varsity Athletic Motto. This teams sportsmanship and grace has continued to push our present program to a standard of excellence and spirit which is second to none.

Anne Prikosovits Stemnock ’38 joined the following women in this first intercollegiate competition; Mary Hawley Moller ’36, Marjorie Verhoeven ’37, Sister Alberta Grimm, O.C.S. ’38, Anne Plotz Carmichael ’36, Katherin Myers ’35, Mary Jane Williams ’34, Pauline Putnam ‘34, Mary Alice Conaghan Murray ’35, Frances Fuller Richards ’36, and Marguerite Craig Sullivan ’38. It is with such a sense of historical pride that we induct the 1934 Field Hockey Team into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame. Accepting this honor on behalf of herself and her teammates is Anne Prilosovits Stemnock ’38.

Mary Fran Shaff Meekison

The induction of Mary Fran Meekison into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame is a remarkable testimony to her unselfish and never ending loyalty and commitment to the rich heritage of our college.

To say that you, Mary Fran, have touched my life personally as the Director of Athletics is such an understatement. Your kind works, your strength of character, and the support you have given to me just scratches the surface of what you have done for our community and myself.

When members of our community think about athletics, most people think back to the early 70’s when varsity status was officially granted to a few sports. But you, Mary Fran know first hand the real stories of early athletics at our college that put us on the path of where we are today. Your experience as an athlete back in 1941 was unprecedented. Your first year at Saint Mary’s you were the basketball team captain for the freshman squad. You also competed on the track and field team. In your sophomore year not only did you continue your success in basketball and track, but you were also the first recipient of the prestigious Helen Holland-Voll Trophy for athletic ability and character. You also found time to give back to the local community by the coaching a local girls basketball team.

Your continued contributions to Saint Mary’s after your left to get married have been equally impressive. In 1991, you received the President’s Medal, which recognized your outstanding community service and contributions to the life of Saint Mary’s College. As a lifelong resident of Napoleon, Ohio, you spent many years as a local historian, writer, editor, and photographer for periodicals in your community that led you to be named Citizen of the Year in 1990. You have been faithful class reporter for the Courier for over 50 years as well as serving on the magazine’s editorial advisory board. You have had many leadership roles in our community, one of which you served for many years on our alumnae board. In 1990, the college again honored you for your amazing commitment to the Courier with the naming of an annual essay contest for aspiring alumnae writers after you.

Your impressive resume goes on as you continued to play competitive tennis until the age of 77 as a member of USTA. The Saint Mary’s athletic department recently continued to honor you by re-naming an award this past year that is given out to a senior athlete. The Mary Fran Meekison Senior Athlete Award for Outstanding Service to the Local and Saint Mary’s Community will continue to recognize and honor your legacy of commitment, loyalty, and unselfish acts of kindness.

You, Mark Fran are an outstanding example of what a Saint Mary’s Women can become. Your acts of goodwill motivated by your sense of caring for family, community, and college leaves us in awe of you.

It is with great pride and respect that we induct, Mary Fran Shaft Meekison into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of fame.

Marvin Wood

Today, it is with great honor that we recognize Coach Marvin Wood as the outstanding coach, teacher, and counselor that he was by selecting him for induction into the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame. It is difficult to put into words the many ways that Coach Wood’s presence, as the head basketball coach from 1984-1996, affected the lives of the athletes of Saint Mary’s College.

Saint Mary’s was most fortunate in 1984 to have Coach Wood agree to join the athletic department as head basketball coach. By this time in his life, Coach Wood had been a very successful basketball coach for over 30 years. Coach Wood was and will always remain a legend in the history of Indiana basketball, as it was his coaching of a small town high school team named Milan that defeated the powerhouse Muncie Central for the Indiana state championship in 1954. But despite all of his coaching successes, Coach Wood was the most humble man you would ever meet. Coach Wood agreed to join an athletic program that was struggling and had just hired a new athletic director. The basketball team hadn’t had a winning season for a long time and morale was very low. Coach Wood, being the ultimate optimist, was exactly what the doctor ordered. Coach Wood’s knowledge of the game and his years of experience were evident immediately. In his third season, Saint Mary’s had both a winning season and recorded wins in the first round of the post-season tournament. Coach Wood’s love for the game and his competitive spirit were contagious. The basketball program was taking on its own spirit and the excitement was spreading all over campus. Coach Wood continued to coach many more successful seasons for Saint Mary’s and was known throughout the conference and region as the head of a class basketball program.

But more important than his win and loss records, was the dedication Coach Wood gave each and every day to the Saint Mary’s athletic program, and it is that dedication that has made him a unanimous choice for induction into the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame. Coach Wood’s title at Saint Mary’s would have read part-time basketball coach, but that could not have been further from the truth. Coach Wood considered his position a full-time, year around coaching/counseling position. When he was not at the gym long after practice had ended helping players who requested extra coaching, he was sitting at Angela listening to problems his players faced in the classroom, on the court, or with their families. When the official season ended, Coach Wood would often be seen in the athletic offices calling or interviewing potential recruits.

This complete dedication to the Saint Mary’s basketball program went deeper than simply his desire to improve the basketball skills of each of his players toward mastering the skills necessary to become a successful Christian woman. Coach Wood not only taught his players how to win on the basketball court, but how to win a life. Many times Coach Wood’s method of teaching was simply by example. Coach Wood was a wonderful Christian man who lived out his in every aspect of his life. Coach Wood taught his players that it is important to set goals in their lives and then through hard work, dedication, and faith-they would achieve these goals.

The Saint Mary’s athletes did not have to look far for a portrayal of the hard work, dedication and faith Coach Wood was talking about. Coach Wood’s determination to continue to coach at Saint Mary’s even after he struggled through a very painful bone marrow transplant and survived his first bout of cancer, was unfortunately, a much more vivid picture than any of the athletes ever imagine they would see.

Coach Wood dedicated 11 years to coaching the women of Saint Mary’s College, and in that time, he not only coached these women to become successful athletes, but even more importantly to become successful women. Despite all of Coach Wood’s accomplishments as a coach throughout his life, he told his wife, Mary Lou, that his real love was coaching the women of Saint Mary’s. But made no mistake; Saint Mary’s was the one that truly fell in love with Coach Wood. The cancer may have taken his life, but his inspiring spirit will live on at Saint Mary’s always. Two years ago, the athletic department wanted to continue to honor this incredible coach, so they established an award and named it the Marvin Wood Outstanding Senior Athlete Award. For years to come the top senior athlete who exemplifies the attributes that Coach Wood stood for will be honored with this award names after this incredible man.

It is with great honor and pride that we induct Coach Marvin Wood, former basketball coach from 1984-1996 into the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame. Accepting this honor on behalf of Marvin is his wonderful wife, Marilou Wood.

Dr. Jo-Ann Nester

You have been selected for induction into the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame for your ambitious vision 17 years ago for the development of a first rate athletic program at Saint Mary’s College. Your incessant dedication to making this vision become a reality as well as your ongoing commitment to the student athletes at Saint Mary’s College has made you a founding Sister, if you may, of the Saint Mary’s College athletic program. You came into an athletic program that was hardly competing at the NAIA level in most sports. Yet, your knowledge of college athletics and your hard work resulted in unprecedented success in these sports programs in a matter of a couple years.

Your workday never seemed to end. When you were not assisting in the sporting events or addressing ongoing issues with your athletes, you were working on proposals to improve the quality of the Saint Mary’s athletic program. In 1989 you proposed and successfully received an invitation for Saint Mary’s to participate in the NCAA as a division III college program. As a result of your ingenuity, Saint Mary’s College as a whole benefited by receiving greater recognition as a well-rounded woman’s college, and thus being given the opportunity to compete for talented student athletes. In 1992, you proposed and successfully received the college’s approval to initiate a Monogram Club that has since revolved into the present Belles Varsity Club. You also received the College’s endorsement for the commencement of the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame.

These are just a few of your many accomplishments during your tenure as Athletic Director of Saint Mary’s College from 1984-1993. But even more important than these notable successes, was the constant dedication you showed to each and every one of your student athletes, and it is this loyalty, that has you such an overwhelming choice for induction into the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame. You promised your student athletes and coaches that you would be available to them at any time and for whatever reason-and you were. You listened to their problems and concerns and worked with them to solve the issues. Many student athletes saw you as their “Mom away from home.” Many Saint Mary’s student athletes matured into the successful women they are today because of the guidance and nurturing that you provided them in those sometimes difficult college years.

In your position as athletic director, you had to endure tough battles along the way in your ongoing effort to cultivate a first class athletic program at Saint Mary’s. You were constantly challenged with athletic budget constraints, and the struggle to have the voice of athletics heard in the Saint Mary’s College community. But upon addressing each issue you did so with both professionalism and class. Saint Mary’s student athletes followed your lead so that when these student athletes took the court or the field in an athletic contest, they were recognized as part of a class program.

Your hard work and dedication was also infectious among your coaching staff. You surrounded yourself with coaches who were passionate about their sport and working with young women. Their positions were all part-time in mature, but their attitudes were not. On several different occasions, you yourself had to serve as coach to some of the teams. It was in this element that the other coaches and athletes were able to sneak a peek at your truly competitive side, and left only to wonder what kind of an athlete you had been during your day. It goes without saying that your willingness to do whatever was needed to get the job done well, earned you the respect of everyone associated with the Saint Mary’s program.

Dr. Nester, you dedicated 10 years of your life to making your vision for Saint Mary’s College athletics a reality. You may not have reached every lofty goal that you set for yourself, but rest assured that the Saint Mary’s athletic program would not be where it is today without that vision and your relentless pursuit of making that vision a reality. How fortunate for Dartmouth College that they were able to attract someone like you as you continue making your mark in the world of college athletics as associate director of athletics.

It is with great honor and pride that we induct Dr. Jo-Ann Nester into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Dr. Debbie Laverie

No doubt when you look up the word competitor in the dictionary, you will find the name Debbie Laverie listed as a definition. From her four years as the #1 singles and doubles player for the Belles, to her four years as the head coach, no one has experience as many victories for Saint Mary’s as she has. Her playing career included such feats has being named All-District all four years and serving as District champion for two of those years. She was ranked nationally both her junior and senior years, achieving a rank as high as 10th in the country. All of these achievements culminating in a senior season when she earned the prestigious All-American honors.

Tennis is often thought of as individual sport, but Debbie had earned the respect and camaraderie of her teammates. Three years in a row, she was voted as the Most Valuable Player by her teammates. She also served as their captain for two years. Not once, but twice, she was voted the Athlete of the Year by her fellow Saint Mary’s athletes. Once again showing that competitiveness and athleticism could be appreciated among peers of all levels.

Although her playing career at Saint Mary’s ended in 1985, her commitment to the College was far from over. In the fall of 1985, Debbie entered the University of Notre Dame as a full-time student pursuing her Masters of Business Administration degree. If that was not enough, she also took on the role as the Head Tennis Coach at Saint Mary’s. In the four years that she led the Belles, she three times was named District Coach of the Year and led the team to the District 21 Championship three of the four years. Her teams compiled incredible win/loss records with the team falling one victory short of a perfect season in the fall of 1988. Her players respected her knowledge of the game and her ability to coach them to victory.

Debbie left Saint Mary’s in the spring of 1989 to pursue her PH.D in Marketing from Arizona State University. She completed that degree and accepted an Assistant Professor position at Texas Tech University in the fall of 1995. She recently received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor of Marketing. The accolades she received as a player and coach have now followed her to her chosen profession. She was twice been named Best Instructor at Texas Tech University and has received numerous Excellence in Teaching awards in her short career as a professor. None of this success should come as surprise to those who knew her as a tennis player and coach at Saint Mary’s College.

Debbie represented Saint Mary’s well during her days as a student-athlete, but the life she leads now best exemplifies the spirit of Saint Mary’s. The competitiveness she displayed all those years ago is alive and well in someone who now is more at home in a classroom than on a tennis court. We are just left to wonder if the students on the opposite side of the podium fear her as much as her opponents on the side of the net did.

It is with great pride, honor, and admiration that we induct Dr. Debbie Laverie ’85 into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame both as an athlete and coach.

Meghan Rafferty Weldon

To say that Meghan Rafferty Weldon, class of 1988, was destined to attend Saint Mary’s College is a monumental understatement, as Meghan’s three older sisters preceded her here. Perhaps her swimming success was somewhat predetermined, too. Four sisters and a brother excelled at the sport, and Meghan’s sister, Sheila Civale succeeded in getting varsity status granted to the swimming and diving team at Saint Mary’s before Meghan even knew the path she would follow. But despite following in some pretty impressive footsteps, Meghan’s achievements as a student-athlete stand on their own.

In her first year alone Meghan built one of the most impressive résumé’s in the history of athletics at Saint Mary’s. Each year seemed to flow into the next as Meghan continued to set new standards in the water and in the classroom for the many teammates who would look to her for leadership. Meghan was named to the NAIA All-American team not only in her freshman year, but also in her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. Meghan was named the most valuable swimmer on her team throughout this same time period. During the next few years, she set and re-set many school records, some of which remained until recent years.

Meghan’s value to her team transcended her swimming ability. She and her teammates had three different coaches throughout their undergraduate years at Saint Mary’s, and Meghan’s leadership, commitment, energy, and happy-go-lucky personality made the transition from one coach to the next easier on the entire team. Meghan had the ability to make her new coaches feel welcome and part of the Saint Mary’s Belles swimming family right from the start.

As with many student-athletes at Saint Mary’s it was not just Meghan’s athletic accomplishments that brought honor and respect to her and her team. In the life of a true student-athlete, attaining Academic All-American status just epitomizes how one can truly combine the best of two valued experience. To be the best at your sport and at the same time achieve excellence in the classroom gives true meaning to the term “student-athlete.” Meghan was named to the NAIA Academic All-American Team during her junior and senior years.

After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Meghan went on to get her Master’s degree in English Literature from Boston College and her Master of Arts in Teaching from the Columbia coach in her former community in Darien, Connecticut. Meghan’s leadership as a coach went right to the top as she led the Darien High School Swimming Team to a State Championship Title in 1993.

Meghan lives in Wayland, Massachusetts, with her husband Kent, daughter Caitlin, son Billy and their third child on the way. The Saint Mary’s community continues to be blessed by this amazing family as Meghan’s niece, Noreen Gillespie ’02, is the managing editor of the Observer and another incredible young women who has had made her mark at our prestigious college.

It is with complete awe and pride that we induct Meghan Rafferty Weldon ’88 into the Saint Mary’s college Athletic Hall of Fame.

Kelly Ann Cook Collins

If you want to define a student-athlete, you need to look no further than Kelly Cook Collins. While a student at Saint Mary’s College Kelly was a two-sport athlete. She was a four-year started who excelled on the soccer team while also playing on the women’s basketball team. To continue to define Kelly, you have to understand her pursuit for excellence was not only on the playing fields but also in the classroom as she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in biology.

The soccer field is where Kelly found herself most at home. She was a very talented individual, whose competitiveness and versatility made her one of the top soccer players in the country. Her position on the team was sweeper where she anchored the defense and started the attack by delivering long balls to the forward and midfielders. Once Kelly stepped on the field she became an immediate leader. Her enthusiastic spirit became infectious and helped raise the level of play of her teammates.

Tom Van Meter, her coach at Saint Mary’s always believe Kelly thought she was a forward played a defender role. He remembers a game that Kelly and her teammates played at Marquette University. It was in a driving rainstorm and they moved the game to a practice field, as they wanted to keep the game field in good condition for the men. There was standing water in places on the field so much that the ball floated in these areas. Kelly took a free kick during that game that landed on the only dry patch of ground and bounced over the keeper’s outstretched arms. The team went on to win that game which led to the most competitive years in the history of our soccer program with many winning seasons to follow.

Not only did Kelly begin to elevate our soccer team to National prominence but her individual honors helped her to achieve personal recognition at a level that no one at Saint Mary’s had achieved before her. Kelly would become the first Saint Mary’s NCAA Division III All-American in soccer. This achievement not only highlighted her outstanding career but also helped to drive her teammates to take those extra steps in training in hopes of achieving this same All-American status.

Kelly’s leadership was not only her ability and skill level but also in her daily drives both athletically and academically. Her leadership was recognized not only by her coaches, but also by her teammates as she was named team captain during her junior and senior years. All her fellow athletes at Saint Mary’s shared Kelly’s success as she was also named Athlete of the Year during her undergraduate years.

Upon graduation Kelly continued her academic accomplishments. Kelly earned a Masters in Secondary Education and taught and coached, a noble profession, in the Cleveland area. In 1994, she entered the Harvard Dental School earning her DMD in1998. She began working on her Masters in Orthodontics, which she completed this past year.

Kelly is married to Kevin Patrick Collins and is the proud mother of Patrick Michael Collins. It is with great distinction that we induct Kelly Cook Collins into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Karen Lynn Lorton

How rare it is to step onto the volleyball court and get playing time as a first year student-athlete. This however would not be the case when Karen Lorton ’93 stepped onto the court. Karen’s impact as an outstanding volleyball player started with that first practice her freshman year and continued throughout her 4-year stellar career at Saint Mary’s. Karen began her career as in impact starter and ended her career even stronger.

Karen Lorton came to Saint Mary’s College from neighboring Saint Joseph High School. Despite receiving offers to play Division I volleyball, Karen fortunately chose to play out her career as a Saint Mary’s Belle. Karen achieved a level of excellence in her sport that very few Saint Mary’s athletes have known. It is so easy to read about Karen’s statistics and honor’s and translate that into what a superior player she was. What only her teammates and coaches can tell you is that her ability on the floor was second to her leadership on and off the court. Her teammates recognized this leadership and picked her as their captain during her junior and senior years.

Her honors and statistics will be hard pressed to ever be matched again. Karen held NCAA Division III Nationals Rankings from her sophomore year to her senior year. She was ranked number one in the country with a hitting percentage of .512 and 2nd in the nation in Kills per Game with 4.98. Karen set single season records in these two categories as well. By the end of her collegiate career, Karen held six career records in total kills, kill average, total hitting attempts, hitting percentage, serving percentage and total digs. What all those statistics amount to is that Karen was the leader on the floor in every skill that a volleyball player can perform. What is even more impressive is that many of those records still stand today. Karen’s stellar senior season was capped with an NCAA Division III All-Region Team selection… an honor that no other player achieved since Saint Mary’s moved from the NAIA to the NCAA Division III level.

Karen’s excellence however, was not limited to the Volleyball Court. She was involved in the Student-Athlete Athletic Council all four years…even holding the post of co-president her senior year. She was a member of the Finance Club, Marketing Club, and the Management Club. She received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration.

It is with great honor that we induct Karen Lorton ’93 into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Megan Marie Dalsaso

If Saint Mary’s soccer needed of a goal, there was only one person to go to. She might have small in stature, but she was very large in heart, dedication, and determination. Megan Dalsaso was a four year starter on the Saint Mary’s Women’s Soccer Team. To this day, Megan still holds the hardest team record to attain as she holds the career scoring record as she scored ----- goals and ------assists.

On the field, Megan was always in constant motion working tirelessly to get open to help create scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. It was during her freshman year that she showed her special athletic talent. Her form coach, Tom Van Meter remembers a special moment when Saint Mary’s was playing Saint Mary’s of Winona, Minnesota, a nationally ranked program. Megan was served a corner kick and she jumped two defenders both five to six inches taller, and headed the ball into the net. Saint Mary’s went on to win that game. This was the first time in soccer history that the “Belles” had defeated a nationally ranked opponent.

As a practice player Megan was constantly driven to improve upon her talents. She continually challenged herself and improved throughout her stellar career. As talented as Megan was on the playing field her personal qualities superseded her playing ability when it came to pointing out her strongest attributes. Megan won her coach and teammates over with her constant caring and compassion for them. Megan was a very hard worker and very humble about her tremendous accomplishments. You could always pick Megan out because of her floppy blond hair, great smile, and her wonderful warm laugh.

By the end of Megan’s sophomore season the honor’s and allocated started pouring in. Megan was named team captain her junior and senior year and was honored with the Saint Mary’s Athlete of the Year Award in 1994. The most prestigious honor that one of our student-athletes can achieve is to be named an All-America. Megan brought that distinct recognition to Saint Mary’s and herself by achieving this status her senior year as she was named to the NCAA Division III All-American Team. This honor is shared with very few athletes in the history of Saint Mary’s College.

Megan’s commitment did not end with her accomplishments on the soccer field. The Business Department honored Megan as a Scholar Athlete for her senior year. Megan was the vice president of the Accounting club in 1993 and 1994. She was also selected as a student speaker during the important Sesquicentennial Celebration for Saint Mary’s College. The same attributes that gave her success athletically continued after Megan graduated as she took her talents an gave a year of service with the Holy Cross Associated working with troubled female juveniles in Brockton, Massachusetts. We can only imagine the fantastic impact she must have had with those young women.

Today, Megan resides in Chicago, Illinois where she is working in the accounting field, continuing to play the sport she loves and also volunteers as a soccer coach.

It is with distinct honor and pride that we induct Megan Dalsaso ’94 into the Saint Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Nicole Hill Colucci

It is no secret that distance running is one of those sports that are hard to remain committed to in northern Indiana, especially between the months of December and February. The only problem is no one shared this secret with Nicole Hill Colucci ’91. Nicole excelled o the track team throughout her undergraduate years at Saint Mary’s. Nicole also was able to run Cross-Country with the Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s club team. In her sophomore year, Notre Dame elevated Cross Country to the varsity level, therefore eliminating the club team from participating. It was at this point that Nicole faced a major decision. If she wanted to continue to compete in something that she loved she would been forced to transfer to the University of Notre Dame. If her dedication and loyalty to Saint Mary’s had not been questioned before, it was certainly questioned then. Nicole professed her love for Saint Mary’s and vowed to continue her studies and running career as a Belle.

A track season can be broken-up into two parts – The Indoor and Outdoor seasons. Nicole’s excellence on the track culminated as she raced through the team record books both during the indoor and outdoor seasons. Nicole excelled at both, holding Saint Mary’s record in the indoor 1 and 2-mile races, as well as 3,000 and 5,000 meter races. In 1989, Nicole’s sophomore year, she was the District 21 Champion in the 10,000 meter race. Nicole continued to be named to the distinguished All-District team for the next three years in a row. Along with regional and local honors her leadership and ability was honored by her alma mater as her teammates and coached voted her the team’s Most Valuable Runner. The respect from her teammates continued as her leadership on and off the track earned her the team captainship both her junior and senior years. Her coaches honored Nicole as she was named as the recipient of the Valued Coach’s Award for Leadership. Her athletic achievements and successes were shared not only with her teammates but the entire athletic department and college as well. In her senior year, Nicole was named the top athlete at Saint Mary’s by receiving the prestigious Athlete of the Year Award.

Nicole was a very driven and tenacious runner. She trained regardless of the elements, always striving to be the best. Nicole was not only a talented athlete, but a gifted student as well. Upon completing her degree in Biology at Saint Mary’s, she pursued a career in medicine. Today, Nicole serves as a pediatrician at the University of Chicago, and is currently completing a Residency for Emergence Medicine Training. No doubt her stamina and endurance have been put to the test many times since she was completed her career as a Saint Mary’s athlete.

As she has always done, Nicole still finds time for her running. She has competed in 7 marathons including Chicago and Boston. It does not seem that anything will ever cause Nicole to slow down.

It is with great honor and pride that we induct Nicole Hill Collucci ’91, into the Saint Mary’s Hall of Fame.