Feature Article

Commending the Past, Crafting the Future

New Hall of Fame marks reflection point in Lasell's storied athletic history

From Hopkinton to Boston Harbor, the Charles River winds its way through Eastern Massachusetts with a binding force. Flowing from quiet suburbs through lush farmland and gaining momentum as it approaches boathouses and brownstones set against gleaming skyscrapers, it remains a physical and cultural tie between the past and the present, a connective thread between all who have ever called the area home.

Much like the Charles encapsulates the power of the Boston experience, so too does the culture of engaging the whole self, mind and body, at Lasell. From the earliest River Days to the development of competitive NCAA programs, the integration of athletics, sportsmanship, and physical culture has woven itself through the narrative of our institution, anchoring the values of our past to the winds of the future.

The new Athletic Hall of Fame marks the latest achievement in Lasell's history of physical culture. The inaugural class of inductees - Jose Guitian '09, Louis Lucchetti '06, Angele Lavoie Piotrowski '07, Mandi Rapisardi '06, and honorary members Nancy Curtis Grellier '49 and professor Rick Frederics - was celebrated in October 2017 for its embodiment of and contribution to the program's values. In honoring these achievements, the college has reached a critical reflection point. Tying the roots of our past with the success of our future, we took a look back at the permanence and pride of Lasell's athletic footprint and ask the question: Where will we go next, and who will lead the way?

1859 | Establishment of a "new and most important feature": the incorporation of physical culture at Lasell College

1888 | Construction of a raised gymnasium and the nation's first-ever college swimming pool, or natatorium

Lasell College's first raised gymnasium

DID YOU KNOW? Lucy Webb Hayes, former first lady and wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, dedicated the Lasell swimming pool and bowling alley on 11/4/1888. 

1885 - 1910 | Athletic clubs and activities grow around campus. Offerings include canoeing, archery, tennis, horseback riding, and military drills. 

Lasell Athletics in the 1800s

Lasell Athletics in the 1800s

Lasell College Athletics in the 1800s

1900s | Academic programs begin to tie into athletic culture. At the turn of the century, races in the school's so-called "Indian war canoes" become a major spring event, evolving into the tradition now known as River Day. 

River Day Canoes early 1900s

Varied sports in the mid-1900s

Pickup hockey game in the 1960s

1980 | "Lasell Lifestyles" seeks to "support each student to manage her body and mind to fully develop individual potential."

1995 | As a four-year college, Lasell offers four NCAA provisional teams; women's soccer, volleyball, basketball, and softball. 

1998 | First co-ed class enrolls as Lasell becomes an active member of the NCAA. 

Lasell College faculty student basketball game in the 1990s

2005 | Installation of FieldTurf on Grellier Field

2007 | Lasell is accepted into the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). 

2009 | Introduction of Boomer

2017  | Athletic Hall of Fame encourages community nominations; committee selects inaugural class of six. 

Lasell College Athletic Hall of Fame Inaugural Class

Photos courtesy of Winslow Archives at Lasell College; historical information courtesy of Lasell: A History of the First Junior College for Women by Donald J. Winslow; as well as courtesy of Kristy Walter, director of athletics. 

Past Issues