Women’s intercollegiate athletics began on the UC Davis campus when Marya Welch came to campus after earning her doctorate from Columbia University. She was the first woman hired in the Physical Education Department and the ninth woman hired on the UC Davis Campus. Marya's activities were not limited to the Physical Education Department. On the UC Davis campus she served as Dean of Women (1952-54) directed and produced the Picnic Day Aquacade (1948-59) and organized the Prytanean Honor Society for women. She was a member of the U.S. Olympic Skiing Committee (1954-1973) and also contributed to the city of Davis by serving on the Recreation Commission from 1954-58. From 1942-46 Dr. Welch served in the US Navy Waves and continued in the US Navy Reserves until her retirement as a Lieutenant Commander. Without her efforts and energy on the behalf of women in sports programs at UC Davis and in northern California women's sports at UC Davis would not be where they are today. Dr. Welch was an inspiration and a person ahead of her time.
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