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Washington State University
College of Education

In Memoriam — Carol Gordon

Carol Gordon

A leader in sport. A fighter for equality.

Dr. Carol Gordon passed away on Saturday evening, May 29. She had just turned 95 years old.

Dr. Gordon came to Washington State University in 1962 and chaired the Women’s Physical Education Department until 1983. The department merged with the Men’s Physical Education Department in 1985 to become the predecessor of the current Sport Management program.

Additionally, from 1962 to 1975, Dr. Gordon was Director of Athletics for Women. She was inducted into the WSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004, the same year as basketball coach George Raveling.

Dr. Gordon was the president of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) in 1973-1974. In that role, she influenced how the newly-enacted Title IX would influence women’s intercollegiate athletics.

The College of Education’s endowed Professional Series in Sport Studies, which helps the college bring to Pullman experts sharing their perspectives on both recent and longstanding issues in sport, is named after Carol and Dr. Mary Lou Enberg.

Dr. Gordon was honored as the recipient of the WSU Faculty Woman of the Year Award, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators. Carol coached and taught at New Hampshire and Utah before joining the Washington State University faculty.

Per Carol’s request, there will be no service.

Read Dr. Gordon’s obituary

Colleagues and friends speak

  • “Our program might not be here had it not been for her efforts decades ago, and women’s sports in the United States might look different had it not been for her perseverance. When we work from our offices, physical or virtual, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Hopefully, we are inspired to honor their legacies and continue working for the good of our students and for the good of society.” – Simon Licen, Associate Professor of Sport Management, Assistant Chair of Department of Educational Leadership and Sport Management.

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Helpful Resources

During this difficult time, faculty and staff may wish to contact the Employee Assistant Program 24/7:


Each year, the Sport Management program brings sport experts to campus as part of its endowed Professional Series in Sport Studies. Gifts to support this amazing series will help continue Carol’s legacy and help increase the number of positive experiences students have.

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Carol Gordon in 1966 outside the Physical Education office.
Carol Gordon in 1968, tennis racquet in hand.


Carol Gordon smiling at her Pullman Walk of Fame induction in 2014
‘ Carol Gordon smiling at her Pullman Walk of Fame induction, as part of Pullman’s National Lentil Festival in 2014.
Carol Gordon receives her Walk of Fame plaque.
Carol Gordon receives her Pullman Walk of Fame plaque, as part of Pullman’s National Lentil Festival in 2014.
Dr. Gordon with friends at her induction to Pullman’s Walk of Fame. Standing behind her, from left: Jo Washburn, Sue Durrant, and June Daugherty.
One of the privileges of the Pullman Walk of Fame is the chance to get a VIP ride in the National Lentil Festival Parade. That’s Carol Gordon riding shotgun.