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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Olympic committee member, medalist to address URI on Nov. 1

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 24, 2005 -- Anita DeFrantz, an Olympic medalist in rowing and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will address the University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium Tuesday, Nov.1.

Her lecture, “A View of Contemporary Sport,” will be given at 7 p.m. in the Chafee Social Science Center, Barry Marks Auditorium, Room 271. It is free and open to the public.

Her talk is part of this fall’s colloquium, “Contemporary Sport: Healthy Pursuit or Obsession,” which is examining some of the most important issues relating to sport and society.

DeFrantz didn’t begin to row until 1973 as a sophomore in college. Three years later, at the 1976 Games in Montreal, she was named captain of the women’s eight-oared shell rowing team and led it to a bronze medal. She was a four-time finalist and silver medalist at the 1978 World Rowing Championships, and won six national championships. During this time she not only excelled in athletics, but also excelled in the classroom, graduating from both Connecticut College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

She is considered one of the most influential women in sports. When the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, DeFrantz led a protest against the decision, and was awarded the Olympic Order in bronze by the IOC for her role. In 1986, she became the first woman to represent the United States on the IOC, and from 1997 to 2001 she served as the first woman vice president of the IOC.

She is also credited with developing policies to ensure more opportunity for women to serve in leadership positions in the sports world. In 1984, serving as the vice president of the Organizing Committee for the Games in Los Angeles, she led a proposal to end segregated housing for male and female athletes, which for the first time gave women the opportunity to become chef de missions (head of Olympic delegations) for their country. In addition, she has served as chairwoman of the Women and Sport Working Group since 1995.

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE CHANGE FOR DIVERTISSEMENT I, OCT. 28: Neil Leifer, sports photojournalist, has postponed his visit until spring. Instead, the program
Friday, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. features The 25 Most Influential Sports Figures in American History, featuring the portraits of Adolphe Coulibaly. A reception for Coulibaly will be held at the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, 3045 Kingstown Road, (Route 138) Kingston. This is a combined presentation of the Institute for International Sport and its Scholar-Athlete Games alumni.

Major sponsors of the colloquium are The Providence Journal, Theta Chi Fraternity, URI Honors Program, URI President’s Office, Institute for International Sport, URI Office of the Provost, URI College of Arts and Sciences, URI College of Business Administration, and the URI Division of University Advancement.
Co-sponsors are the URI Department of Athletics, Multicultural Center, College of Nursing, College of Human Science and Services, College of Pharmacy, Office of Student Affairs, and the Women’s Studies Program.

For more information, visit or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or

The Honors Program at URI offers learning enrichment opportunities that broaden and enhance the undergraduate educational experience. The program features small classes, a nationally renowned honors colloquium, national scholarship advising, and in-depth study and research with select faculty mentors.

URI students must maintain a minimum 3.2 grade-point average to continue participation.

Open access to the Honors Program continues for qualified students throughout their undergraduate years. About 900 URI students participate in the Honors Program. About 60 students are participating in the Honors Colloquium this fall, which also has a companion class.