Introduction of Eddie Dugger, presented by Stefan Duvivier, Class of 2018 and Track Team member
One of just four African-Americans in his graduating class of 1941, Eddie Dugger’s contributions to Tufts Athletics and the campus at large in the late 1930s and early 1940s was so significant that the Tufts Yearbook had this to say:
“We will never forget Eddie Dugger, who is one of the finest athletes Tufts has ever had,” the 1941 Yearbook reads. “He is unaffected by the fame he has attained, and his leadership and ability will never be forgotten.”
Often referred to as a “one-man track team,” Eddie won a total of 24 titles in the broad jump, the 100-yard and 200-yard dashes, and the hurdles. The West Medford native is considered to be one of the greatest hurdlers in US collegiate history. In June 1940, Eddie won the NCAA championship in the 120-yard high hurdles with a time of 13.9 seconds, setting an American and NCAA record. Eddie served as captain of the 1941 Tufts team, a team that went undefeated and captured the Eastern Intercollegiate, Penn Relays, and American Shuttle Relay championships.
Demonstrating the genuine balance between academic, athletic and extracurricular pursuits that Tufts Athletics stands for, Eddie’s athletic accomplishments were only part of his life at Tufts. An outstanding student, he received a mechanical engineering degree and was elected to two different Tufts honor societies, Sword and Shield in his sophomore year and Tower Cross as a senior. Eddie received the Bennett Memorial Scholarship, emblematic of true sportsmanship, and was class secretary. He was also active in the community as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
After graduating from Tufts, Eddie worked as an aeronautical engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He advanced to Chief of Scientific Storage and Retrieval before retiring in 1972. Eddie passed away following a brief illness in 1975.
A plaque honoring Eddie Dugger was dedicated alongside Dussault Track at Ellis Oval on October 20, 1990. The inscription on the plaque reads, "His mercurial speed brought national glory to Tufts. As champion hurdler of the IC4A, NCAA and Penn Relays, he was the rock on which the storied heroics of Tufts track teams will forever rest."
For those reasons and more, we will never forget Eddie Dugger and his many contributions to Tufts.