William McCormack

As a part of this summer’s website redesign for Yale Athletics, Director of Athletics Vicky Chun and the Bulldogs made a subtle tweak to complement the site’s enhanced aesthetics and branding. Under the “Teams” heading, women’s sports will now feature on the left, while men’s sports have been moved over to the right.

The change itself might seem small, but it speaks to how Chun and Yale Athletics are embracing the 50WomenatYale150 initiative, a yearlong celebration marking the 50th anniversary of co-education at Yale College. A symbol of Chun’s influence on the department, the modification precedes larger panels and galas that will follow this fall and into 2020.

“[Chun’s] signature move, I would say, is to put the women on the left,” said Director of Creative Services and Digital Strategy Nina Lindberg, who helped coordinate the website redesign. “I think you’d go to 99 percent — 98 because Colgate’s women are on the left as well — of websites, and you’ll see the men on the left … It does bring our women’s sports to be featured a little bit more. It might entice people to click on them a little more. We want all of our sports to be featured as they find success. One is not over the other.”

Colgate University, where Chun served as director of athletics for six years before arriving at Yale in July 2018, continues to feature its women’s teams on the left side of its “Sports” menu.

In addition to the website adjustment, all Eli student-athletes will sport patches that read “Lux et Femina” — a play on Yale’s official motto “Lux et Veritas” — on their game jerseys or warmups, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development and External Partnerships Tori Untiet said.

“We are thrilled to be honoring the proud and dynamic history of women athletes at Yale this year — and have made a concerted effort to honor this in ways big and small, in almost everything we do,” Untiet said.

In addition to periodic events throughout the year, Yale Athletics’ main festivities will kick off when alumnae descend on New Haven for the 136th installation of The Game in late November. On the eve of the match between the Bulldogs and the Crimson on Nov. 22, Yale will host a reception for female athletic alumnae before the Blue Leadership Ball — a biennial event for alumni and friends of Yale athletics.

A luncheon and panel discussion at the Yale Club of New York City in March 2020 will feature a discussion on women working in sports. Lawrie Mifflin ’73, former sports deputy editor at the New York Times and a former Eli field hockey player, is set to moderate the conversation. In November, she will also be honored as one of five recipients of the George H.W. Bush ’48 Lifetime of Leadership Award. Finally, the department will host a symposium with panels and activities in November 2020.

The Celebrating Women’s Athletics at Yale Committee — a team composed primarily of athletics alumnae — also exists within the larger infrastructure of the 50WomenatYale150 celebration. The 27-person committee features former student-athletes from the Class of 1973 through the Class of 2011 and is responsible for planning and coordinating events and activities to honor women’s athletic teams and the 50th anniversary of co-education.

“I’m aware of the changes going on within Yale Athletics, like the women’s roster being first [on the website], for example,” said Sam Tobin ’22, a member of the sailing team. “I’m on the sailing team which is a pretty tightly-knit coed group, so to me, I’ve never really seen teams as being men’s and women’s exclusively. I support all the changes within Yale Athletics to support women’s sports and am excited to hear about what initiatives they come up with.”

The 50th Anniversary Commemorative Weekend will run from this Thursday, Sept.19 to Sunday, Sept. 22.

Margaret Hedeman contributed reporting to this article.

William McCormack | william.mccormack@yale.edu