Hall of Fame

Pamela Stone Ryan
Swimming & Diving

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

The 1982 recipient of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association Award for the top female athlete, Pam displayed her competitiveness best on the national scene in 1979, when she won the NCAA Division II one-meter diving championship. She claimed the Ivy titles at one and three meters a combined four times and contributed greatly to a growing women’s team.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

To begin with, I’m not sure I would have had a Harvard experience without my athletic background. Although I was a good student, with decent SAT scores, from a great public high school in Louisville, KY, my academic record would not have distinguished me from most of the 5,000 or so other applicants for the class of 1982. When I found out I had the opportunity to attend Harvard, the decision over Princeton was an easy one because I had received such a warm reception on my first visits. From meeting such great people like John Walker and Jack Reardon to having a brand-new Blodgett Pool, Harvard was an easy choice.

That choice was validated quickly with an introduction to a diving team of eight men and women that formed a very close-knit group. They helped me in many ways, from the ins and outs of registration to class selection and even changing my hairstyle from pigtails and ribbons to something more appropriate for an eighteen-year-old. I then quickly learned that I was part of a much larger team sport in swimming. That was terrific because in high school diving had been very separate. The camaraderie, genuine enthusiasm, and discipline of the team really helped me both athletically and academically at Harvard. I became close friends with not only my teammates but swimmers and divers from other Ivy college as well. It was a true benefit of the sport.

Between my sophomore and junior years, I had a pretty bad accident landing on the pool deck instead of the water from the three-meter board. My diving was never 100% after that, but it didn’t seem to matter at Harvard. I doubt that many of my diving friends who attended Big 10 schools would have had the same support from teammates and coaches. At Harvard, doing my best was all anybody asked.

Among the main benefits I received from the competitive nature of athletics at the college level were the lessons learned in approaching the challenges posed by life after college. Diving taught me how to win, lose, and persevere. The depth of those experiences shapes who you are, and it has helped me in all aspects of my life both personally and professionally. I want to thank my family, friends, coaches, and teammates for making this experience possible.