Turn of the 20th Century
Over a century ago – long before women’s fitness and recreation advocates were in vogue – there was Stella Vaughn. An 1896 Vanderbilt graduate and one of just 10 women that were enrolled in 1892, Vaughn truly blazed a trail of opportunity by encouraging women to become active and enjoy athletics. Her early women’s basketball games were played in near seclusion and secrecy, lest men might watch. She would be a pillar of the Vanderbilt community for her entire life.
- Graduated from Vanderbilt in 1896, was one of ten women attending the university in 1882.
- Remembered as a devoted mentor and champion of women at Vanderbilt and a pioneer in Vanderbilt women’s athletics.
- Organized the first Vanderbilt women’s basketball team in the fall of 1896, which was known as a “co-ed” team. She was the team captain, an active player, and the team coach.
- She was a founding member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority.
- If assists existed, Vaughn would have been credited with Vandy’s first assist as she threw a pass resulting in the only basket of the game against Ward Seminary.
- Became the women’s physical education director and Vanderbilt’s first female instructor in 1896.
- Remained the women’s basketball coach for 20 years and became director of the co-ed gymnasium activities.
- Served as physical education instructor and basketball coach for nine years without pay before receiving $100 salary in 1905.
- Her house was one of the approved boarding houses for female students who were not allowed to live on campus.
- Named the Dean of Women in 1925.