Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics mourned the passing of former Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Ellen Perry, who died Tuesday in State College. She was 72.
Perry was a member of the Penn State Athletics staff from 1966 until her retirement on June 30, 2002, completing a distinguished career spanning almost 40 years in teaching, coaching and athletic administration. She was the Nittany Lions’ first women’s swimming and diving head coach and from 1989 until her retirement served as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator.
“Ellen Perry was one of the primary forces in making Penn State an early leader among national universities in providing opportunities for women in athletics on the intercollegiate, intramural and club levels,” said Dave Joyner, director of athletics. “Ellen made a meaningful difference on the lives of Penn State students and staff, and members of the State College and Intercollegiate Athletics’ communities. She played a significant role in Penn State’s transition into the Big Ten Conference and helped lay the foundation for the 60-plus Big Ten titles and nearly 20 national championships our women’s teams have won.”
From Reading, Mass., Perry played a significant role in the growth and success of women’s athletics at Penn State and nationwide, and was recognized as one of the nation's most respected athletic administrators. During her tenure as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, Penn State's women's programs captured 14 national championships in six sports, as well as winning 17 Big Ten regular season championships and nine Big Ten tournament titles. In addition, the women's fencing team combined with the men's team to win nine combined NCAA Championships from 1990-2002.