Maria Sexton (1953-1984)


Miss Maria Sexton, 1965-66

Chair of  Women’s Physical Education Department 1953-1964.
Professor of Physical Education until 1984.

Dr. Maria Sexton would replace Kathleen Lowrie as Chair of the Department of Women's Physical Education from 1953 until 1964.   An early proponent of high-level competition for women, Sexton would lay the groundwork for varsity programs at the college.  Under her supervision, Wooster moved from occasional Sport Days and Playdays, to Club Teams (supported by the Women’s Athletic Association) in Field Hockey, Volleyball and Basketball to Women’s Varsity Teams at Wooster, starting with Basketball and Field Hockey in 1965, and Volleyball in 1966. Sexton would coach the first Women’s Tennis Team in 1970, and Women’s Lacrosse and Swimming would be added in 1973, the year after Title IX was passed.


Basketball Practice Session with Dr. Sexton, 1953-54

Not only would Sexton be the catalyst for starting Women’s Varsity Sports at The College of Wooster, but she would also prove to be a leader at the national level for Women’s Athletics.  She served as a manager for the U.S. Women’s Track and Field Team on several occasions, chaired the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee when women went from six player to five player basketball, served as a National Official in both volleyball and basketball, and was one of three women who helped form the first organization to provide national championships for Women’s inter-collegiate sport- the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (A.I.A.W.).


Dr. Maria Sexton at Graduation, 1975-1976

Dr. Sexton received numerous honors and recognition for her lifetime devoted to providing opportunities to girls and women in sport.  Among them are::

    • Ohio Association for Intercollegiate Sport for Women in 1985
    • The W Association Hall of Fame in 1988
    • Lifetime Achievement Award from NACWAA in 2000
    • The Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001
    • The Western Michigan Hall of Fame in 2004
    • An Honorary Degree from the College of Wooster in 2005

Maria Sexton passed away on October 3, 2008 at the age of 89.