[Back to Formatted Version]

Judy Kitzman Papers, 1972-2015

By Karl McCreary

Collection Overview

Title: Judy Kitzman Papers, 1972-2015

Predominant Dates: 1972-1982

ID: MSS Kitzman

Primary Creator: Kitzman, Judy, 1952-2017

Extent: 1.2 cubic feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2021

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Judy Kitzman Papers consist of materials generated and collected by alumna and Oregon State University Women's Crew coach Judy Kitzman. Made up of photographs, scrapbooks, instructional guides, newspaper clippings, a research paper, and historical essays, this collection documents Kitzman's particpation in competitive rowing for OSU first as a student and then as the coach of the team. Kitzman's involvement in the Portland-area crew community after her departure from OSU is also reflected in this collection. Kitzman died in 2017.

Scope and Content Notes

The Judy Kitzman Papers consist of materials generated and collected by alumna and OSU Women's Crew coach Judy Kitzman. Made up of photographs, scrapbooks, instructional guides, a research paper, historical essays, and newspaper clippings, this collection documents Kitzman's participation in competitive rowing for OSU, first as a student and then as the coach for the Women's team. There are also materials reflecting Kitzman's involvement in the Portland-area crew community after her departure from OSU.

The bulk of the photographs depict OSU Women's Crew activity taken by Kitzman at various crew matches. Other images show rowing practices on the river near Corvallis and the Portland area. There are also group shots that include Kitzman with her team.

The three scrapbooks in this collection contain a combination of newspaper clippings, photographs, event programs, correspondence, and flyers that document the entire arc of Kitzman's crew experience from OSU to the coaching of the Portland Junior Crew. Correspondence and memoranda in one of the scrapbooks detail Kitzman's interactions with the OSU administration to have women's crew recognized as an activity funded and managed by Intercollegiate Athletics. One of the scrapbooks that was housed in a three-ring binder has been placed in a file folder. The research paper, "Rowing for the Blind: New Directions for Development," reflects Kitzman's graduate student work at the University of Oregon.

The historical essays and timelines are comprised of three student papers on the history of women's rowing at OSU and notes compiled by Women's Crew Coach Astrid Hancock in conversations with Kitzman.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Judy Kitzman was born in 1952 and was raised in Springfield, Oregon. Coming to Oregon State University in 1972 to study physical education, Kitzman enrolled in a class taught by Crew Coach Karl Drlica during her freshman year. This initial exposure to collegiate rowing proved to be pivotal for Kitzman in setting the course for the rest of her experience at OSU. By the start of her second year in the fall term of 1973, Kitzman had signed up for the Women's Crew team and thus began her association with the sport.

When Kitzman joined the crew team, women's rowing had been an established activity at OSU for nearly two decades. There was a designated Women's Crew coach in place since 1964, with Astrid Hancock the first to serve in that position. However, with regard to the level of administrative and financial support by the university the playing field between women's and men's athletics at OSU was far from equal. Pressure to equalize athletic opportunity in higher education gained traction with the passage of congressional legislation in 1972 designed to address discrepancies. A key part of this legislation came to be known as Title IX. To comply with these new federal requirements to provide equal access, OSU formed a new program in 1974, the Women's Intercollegiate Association (WIA), to administer women's athletic activity at the university. Among the nine sports represented by the WIA, Women's Crew was notably not included in the new program and continued to be administered by the Department of Recreational Sports as a club, and not a varsity sport.

After two years of rowing as a member of the team, Kitzman wanted to expand into more of a coaching role. Much of this stemmed from Kitzman's research into rowing technique as a part of her academic studies and wanting to follow up on these ideas through practice and observation. Kitzman began to coach in 1975 and her position helping to manage the team was considered a student position under the direction of the head coach. During this time, if a substitute rower was needed, Kitzman would also fill in as the situation arose. In her coaching role, Kitzman was a strong advocate for elevating the status of the women's crew team. In 1977, Kitzman and three others involved in women's athletics wrote up and submitted a proposal to the OSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to transfer the management of Women's Crew to the WIA. This proposal was approved that same year and marked the beginning of Women's Crew being regarded by OSU as an official varsity team sport, on par with Men's Crew.

After two years of coaching and with her bachelor's degree completed a year earlier, Kitzman left Corvallis in 1977 to continue her involvement with the regional crew community in Portland. In addition to coaching women's rowing for Lewis and Clark College, Kitzman and fellow OSU Women's Crew alumna Diane Gribskov established the non-profit organization Portland Junior Crew (PJC). The mission of PJC was to provide competitive crew opportunities for young women in the Portland area, and it gave Kitzman more opportunties to coach.

In 1981, wanting to follow up on the research she began at OSU, Kitzman entered the graduate program in physical education at the University of Oregon. As a part of her graduate research, Kitzman developed an outline for a rowing program designed specifically for the visually impaired. When Kitzman shared this research with the crew community nationally, it attracted a lot of attention and a program based on her guidelines was nearly launched in Portland. But because of liability concerns, the project was never implemented.

After a year of graduate school, Kitzman switched gears completely and pursued a very different path from the one she had forged at OSU. Relocating to Seattle in 1982, where she would remain for the rest of her life, Kitzman pursued work in marketing and public relations, holding positions for several organizations. Three years after retiring from North Seattle Community College, Kitzman passed away in 2017.

To honor Kitzman's legacy in women's rowing, OSU Crew Coach Emily Ford dedicated a new racing shell in Kitzman's name in 2015.

Author: Karl McCreary

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 548 photographs; 2 boxes, including 1 oversize box.

Statement on Access: This collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: These materials were donated to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center by Astrid Hancock in 2021.

Related Materials: Other collections documenting Kitzman and women's crew at OSU include the Karl F. Drlica Papers (MSS Drlica), the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics Records (RG 007); the College of Health and Human Performance Records (RG 031); the Women's Recreation Association Photograph Collection (P 171); and Sports Media Guides (PUB 54) . The media guides can be directly accessed through Oregon Digital.

Preferred Citation: Judy Kitzman Papers (MSS Kitzman), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Kitzman, Judy, 1952-2017

People, Places, and Topics

College sports for women--Oregon--Corvallis.
Oregon State University--History.
United States. Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.