Introduction of Vera Stenhouse, presented by Brittany Bowman, Class of 2018 and Women's Track Team member
It’s a true honor for me to be added to the list of 29 individual NCAA champions in the sport of track & field here at Tufts. However, it’s an even greater honor to present the Hall of Fame award to a true trail blazer in our sport who is on that national champions list an incredible 8 times.
The person I’m talking about is Vera Stenhouse, the most prolific individual champion in Tufts Athletics history. Vera had the potential to compete in Division I, but she chose to attend Tufts instead. And when Tufts’ former track coach Branwen Smith-King first met Vera in 1988, she had a feeling that Vera would be a very special Jumbo. Branwen’s instincts turned out to be exactly right as Vera developed quickly into a sprints and jumps legend in Division III.
During her four years at Tufts, Vera won four NCAA championships in the triple jump, three NCAA championships in the 400 meters, and one NCAA championship in the 200 meters. As a senior in 1991, Vera won four national titles, and the points she scored single-handedly led Tufts to fourth-place team finishes at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championship meets.
Vera earned All-American honors a staggering 23 times during her Tufts career, and she was a nominee for the Honda Award recognizing the best female student-athlete in Division III. An English and astronomy major at Tufts, Stenhouse earned an NCAA postgraduate scholarship in 1991 based on her academic and athletic achievements. After Tufts, she competed at the United States Track and Field National Championships, competing alongside legends such as Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
In spite of her many impressive achievements, Vera remained modest throughout. “Vera was just Vera,” said Branwen Smith-King. “She came from a wonderful family, and it showed.”
In 2012, Vera was inducted into the Division III National Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame. And in 2018, I am very pleased to say, Vera is among the first student-athletes to be inducted into the Tufts Athletics Hall of Fame.