Rice Institute Owls tennis player Kathryn Pearson Keating
Black and white photograph of Rice Institute Owls tennis player Kathryn Pearson Keating, accompanied by text headlining her achievement and entry of the Rice Athletic Honorary 'R' Award. Caption reads: The first women athlete in the history of The Rice Institute to gain considerable national and state acclaim for her exploits, this gracious lady was named an Honorary Member of the “R” Association of ex-Owl lettermen in the fall of 1982. As coed Kay Pearson she was a splendid tennis star who attained All-America status and brought much favorable notice both to Rice and to herself at a time, in the 1930’s when women’s sports were not as prominent as now. She did, however, win the National College Girls Invitational Tennis Championship at Brookline, Massachusetts in 1934. The event was originated by Mrs. George Wightman, donor of the famed Wightman Cup for women’s tennis. Kay was Rice women’s champion 1932 to 1936. Away from school while a student, she had the honor to play such all-time greats as Helen Wills Moody, Helen Jacobs, and Elizabeth Ryan on the grass center courts at Forest Hills, NY in the national tournament. She was the Houston City Tennis champion nine times between 1931 and 1940, and won a host of AAU titles for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at a time well before the collegiate competition of today, though Kay played other Texas coeds in tournaments. Before entering Rice, she played tennis for Hockaday School of Dallas and San Jacinto High of Houston between 1928 and 1931. In addition to her tennis, Kay Pearson was quite active on campus in other ways, such as president of the Rice Women’s Council in 1936 and president of the Owen Wister Literary Society (OWLS). The great athletic ability of this lady is particularly noteworthy when we observe she concentrated on tennis as a collegian, and did not take her first golf lesson until January of 1936 before June graduation. With that in mind, take note Kay Pears Keating was runnerup of the Corpus Christi Invitational Tournament that same 1936, and by 1938 was Houston City Women’s champion! In fact, she won the Houston city title for women in 1938, 1939, 1940 and after no tournament held during World War II, she won it again in 1946, 1948, and 1949. She was the Texas Women’s State champion in 1941 and again in 1947. In 1939 she tied for medalist honors at the Women’s Southern Championship of 1939 with Betty Jameson, destined to become a famous women’s golf professional. This lady played in three national women’s championship tournaments, and was champion at Houston Country Club 7 times, and River Oaks Country Club champ 9 times! All the while after college she was a devoted wife to the late Leonard Keating, and during World War II served her country. She was a captain of the American Red Cross Motor Corps, Harris County chapter, after completing National Red Cross Training School in 1941 at Colorado Springs. She worked in the Personnel Department for Hughes Tool Company 1942 to 1945 in wartime. Mrs. Keating is a loyal and active member of the Owl Club and the Rice Alumni Association, and has endowed the annual award given to Rice’s outstanding women’s tennis player.
Rice Athletic Hall of Fame, Honorary "R" Award
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/63988
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