At a time when women’s roles were tightly defined, Ruth R. Guthrie chose to live her life on her own terms. In the 1930’s, Ruth, a truly gifted athlete, played professional tennis and competed in the early industrial sport leagues associated with her places of employment in the sports such as softball, basketball, and bowling, helping blaze the way for generations of women interested in sports.
Committed to demonstrating the benefits of athletics to young women, she turned her career toward teaching physical education to middle and high school girls to coaching tennis. A wife and mother, she focused her energies on her family, volunteerism and support of girls’ and women’s issues. Even after she contracted a major neurological disorder, she continue to coach from the confines of her wheelchair. She died of lymphoma at the age of 76.
The President’s Commission on the Status of Women–Ruth R. Guthrie Scholarship recognizes women who have made a difference, and encourages others–women and men– to do just the same.