Remembering Helen “Gerry” Lahanas

Helen “Gerry” Geraldine Lahanas, a former Scripps College faculty memberGerry and an important figure in the history of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) athletics program, passed away on October 2, 2015, at the age of 79. She is remembered by her former students and colleagues as an exceptional coach and mentor to generations of Athenas.

“Scripps College, the CMS athletics family, and the wider Claremont community were fortunate to have benefitted from Gerry’s skill, expertise, passion for coaching, and dedication to her student-athletes,” says Interim President Amy Marcus-Newhall.

Lahanas served as associate professor of physical education at Scripps College from 1957 to 1983. She was the primary administrator responsible for guiding Scripps when it joined the Claremont-Mudd team in 1976 to become Claremont-­Mudd-Scripps. From 1968 to 1981, Lahanas served as the CMS women’s tennis coach, and she was inducted into the CMS Hall of Fame on November 11, 2006. Each February, the current Athena tennis team takes on alumnae as part of the Gerry Lahanas Alumnae Classic, established in 2008.

In 1989, California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson ’71 endowed the Helen G. Lahanas Scholarship Fund for students who demonstrate genuine, active interest in athletic participation as well as excellent academic achievement and leadership abilities. Jackson remembers Lahanas as a “potter, photographer, artist, professor, and all-around Renaissance woman.”

“She has been an ever-present reminder in my life that success and achievement cannot and should not be measured simply by what comes at the end of the effort—not by As, money, fame, or recognition,” says Jackson. “What matters is the joy in the doing, in the process of creating, achieving, and accomplishing.”


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