It was a great week for
Last Thursday, many of
Columbia's all-time greats gathered in Low Library for induction to the
Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame. Legendary coach James Murray, who coached from
1898 to 1948, was inducted, as were four individuals -- Robert Nielsen '51CC,
Barry Pariser '55CC, Monica Conley '03CC and Emma Baratta '06CC. All were
All-Americans. In addition, the 1988 Men's Fencing Team was inducted in the
Team, Modern Era category; that was the team that won the NCAA championship and
saw all three weapons won by Lions!
Four days later, many of
those standouts returned to campus for the annual Fencing Alumni Meet in the
Dodge Physical Fitness Center. They saw, and participated in, a spirited
Alumni-Varsity meet, won for the first time in many years by the varsity.
The new Hall of Famers, and
those inducted previously, were introduced by head coach Michael Aufrichtig, to
a standing ovation from a crowd of nearly 100.
The meet was followed by a
brunch get-together in the Lou Gehrig Lounge. There, the attendees were treated
to several fencing alumni, including Stephen Buchman, Jim Margolis and Steve
Sobel, who were there to speak about two other legendary Lions, Engineering
School alumnus Niles Ayres and pioneering coach Jose "Joe" Velardi,
both of whom passed away during the past year.
Sobel, a former NCAA
champion who went on to head the United States Olympic Committee, capped the
day for the entranced crowd with the tale of how he was approved to fence for
It truly was a memorable
gathering for some equally-memorable fencers.