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Looking Back — Sally Ride ’72

Thirty-five years ago this June, the late Sally Ride ’72 became the first American woman in space.

 

In this red-penciled 1969 Bulletin/Phoenix photo, however, she was a physics major at Swarthmore and a champion tennis player, so skilled that Billie Jean King urged her to go pro.

(Accompanied by this portrait, a Phoenix article celebrated her second year ranked tennis’s No. 1 woman in the East, aided by the exercise required by “living on the fourth floor of Parrish.”)

Although Ride opted for Stanford over Swarthmore after three semesters and chose a life of science over sport, she never forgot the College.

On that historic space mission, Ride flew this Swarthmore College pennant aboard the shuttle, which her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, later donated to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.