June 29, 2022
Class of 1970 and Emmanuel Women’s Basketball Leaves Lasting Legacy

It was the spring of 1970, and the women’s varsity basketball team was up against the faculty squad for their annual Students vs. Faculty game.

The faculty team featured professors such as Dr. Don Logan, Dr. John Cusack and many others. The women’s team took the victory over the faculty team by just two points and celebrated the finish of their winning varsity season.

The team’s season took place during a tumultuous time in history when the Vietnam War was raging and antiwar and women’s rights protests were taking place all over the country. The tragic events of the Kent State shooting in May of 1970 triggered a nationwide student strike. In solidarity, Emmanuel’s graduating Class of 1970 did not have a traditional Commencement celebration. Instead, in order to include their parents, they voted to have an alternative graduation ceremony where then Class President, Jane Candito Corr ‘70, accepted her diploma on behalf of the entire class. Corr then lead the Class of 1970 in the traditional tassel turning, followed by the removing of their mortarboards in a symbolic gesture of protest.

Fifty-two years later, members of the class attended Alumni Weekend 2022 to celebrate their 50th reunion, which had been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This June also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, an act which changed education in the United States by barring sex discrimination in schools. This particularly impacted women’s sports and the access for women to pursue athletic opportunities in high school, collegiate and professional arenas. The Class of 1970 athletes were not beneficiaries of Title IX but were trailblazers, almost always playing in front of nearly empty gyms for nothing but their love of the game.

Eileen Leary Zewski ’70 remembers her parents helping her move out of the dormitory that spring and recalls her laundry being full to the brim. Later, in that pile of laundry, she discovered that, in the tumult of campus disruptions, she had never turned in her beloved Emmanuel basketball uniform. Zewski recently donated the uniform to Emmanuel College along with several photographs and news clippings that document the memories of the women’s basketball team and their late classmate Anne Sullivan ’70.

“Annie was the heart of the women’s basketball team at Emmanuel. She was the star,” says Corr.

“This was before we had three-point shots. Annie’s shot was from the corner, and she was a lefty. She was a gem,” reflects Zewski.

Both teammates commented that Sullivan made such a great teammate because of her unselfishness, humility, and knowledge of the game. “She made you better playing with her,” says Corr. Sullivan passed away in February of 2007 after a courageous battle with breast cancer. In memory of Sullivan and in honor of their Class of 1970 teammates, Zewski worked with Coach Andy Yosinoff to sponsor two new seats alongside Andy Yosinoff Court.

Alumnae Ann Tierney Latson '70, Eileen Leary Zewski '70 and Jane Candito Corr '70 visit the newly dedicated bleacher seat for their class during Alumni Weekend in June 2022.

Class of 1970 Basketball Alumnae Leave Lasting Legacy

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