Distinguished Alumni 2003
Ruth Sturgis is being presented with an Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award for her contributions to the Department of Health and Physical Education. Ms. Sturgis graduated from Winthrop in 1937, and while her degree was in Home Economics, her heart was in Peabody.
After her graduation from Winthrop, Ms. Sturgis taught one year at Irmo High School before entering Louisiana State University on a teaching fellowship. She earned a Master of Science degree in Physical Education from LSU in 1940. Upon her graduation, she was named the Director of Physical Education at La Grange College. After one year, she joined the faculty of West Georgia College. While in Georgia, she served as President of the Georgia Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and chaired the Georgia National Section of Women’s Athletics for three years. In 1952, Ms. Sturgis returned to Winthrop, when she was named an assistant professor of physical education.
For twenty-six years, Ruth Sturgis was the heart and soul of the Women’s Recreation Association (WRA) on campus. She helped the WRA grow into the largest and most influential club on campus. In addition to her work with the WRA, she was a gifted teacher. Through her guidance and leadership, hundreds of students developed into quality teachers. She was a demanding teacher, who tempered her high standards with humor and love.
Upon joining the Winthrop faculty Ms. Sturgis was asked if she would like to see any changes made and she cited the pressing need for a building with adequate space to take care of all activities. I am sure Ruth Sturgis is smiling down from above knowing that a new facility is in the works named for another distinguished alumni, Lois Rhame West.