Vanderbilt is planning a special Hall of Fame weekend for September 12-13. A series of events will unfold over those two days, capped by the Induction Banquet Friday evening, September 12 and the Class of 2008 being presented at halftime of Saturday's Rice football game. VUcommodores.com will spotlight one inductee per day leading up to the Hall of Fame weekend.
June Stewart is a wonderful example of working one's way from bottom to the top of the career ladder. She started working in the Vanderbilt athletic department in 1973 as a secretary in the sports information and National Commodore Club offices. At the time, Vanderbilt did not have women's athletics as sanctioned sports.
Beginning in the 1977-78 season, Vanderbilt made the announcement to add women's athletics. During the fall of 1977, Stewart was named the women's sports information director and became the women's basketball media contact. Stewart was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with women's athletics.
"I was in the right place at the right time in being a part of starting women's sports at Vanderbilt. It was just my good fortune that it worked out the way it did because we became quite successful," she modestly says.
Throughout the years as the women's sports information director, Stewart traveled to numerous Vanderbilt sporting events around the Southeastern Conference, which gave her the opportunity to meet and network with other publicists and administrators.
Stewart was promoted to Senior Women's Administrator, which gave her the responsibility of overseeing all Commodore women's sports. Then in 1990, she was elected as the first female president of College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Roy Kramer, the athletic director at the time, gave Stewart the opportunity to spread her wings when the opportunities came calling.
"I remember telling Roy that CoSIDA had asked me to become its president and he told me that it would be a great opportunity and something that I shouldn't pass up," Stewart recalls. "Roy's support gave me all of these opportunities and without the people that were in the athletic department at the time, I wouldn't have had them."
Throughout her career Stewart made the most of her time while branching out in intercollegiate athletics. Stewart became a trailblazer in women's athletics, serving on the NCAA Women's Basketball Committee and the SEC Executive Committee. In 1997 Stewart was rewarded for her efforts as she was inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame.
"Some of my most memorable moments during the 28 years were seeing women have the opportunity to receive athletics scholarships to help them get a great Vanderbilt education," Stewart says.
"I remember when we awarded one of our female track athletes a half scholarship the second semester of her senior year and tears came to her eyes. She asked me if I could go call my mom and dad. It was wonderful to see what athletic scholarships for females provided."
During Stewart's years in athletics there were many memories but a couple are special.
"The major success that we had with our women's basketball program and winning the WNIT and being ranked No. 1 in the nation were great times."
When asked about being named to the first class of the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame, Stewart admitted surprise.
"I was shocked when they called," she says. If you look at the names that are going into the hall of fame, for me to be put in the same class as those great student-athletes is a major honor."