December 6, 2010 - Shaw University will honor Vivian Sansom – a pioneer in women’s sports at Shaw – before the women’s basketball game Tuesday, December 7 at 6:00 p.m.
Mrs. Sansom is a true pioneer for women’s participation in sports. Serving as a physical education instructor at North Carolina Central from 1940 through 1946, and at Shaw University, where she taught and coached the cheerleading squad from 1960 until 1996 – 36 years of service to the university.
While at Shaw, she taught physical education, basketball, dance, tennis, and golf – all at a time when women were not encouraged to take part in sports.
Mrs. Sansom received her undergraduate degree at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama, then went on to Boston College to gain a Master’s Degree in health and physical education.
She can remember a time when women played a half-court game of basketball, where players either played offense or defense, but not both. She attended 67 straight CIAA Championships – rooting for her Bears – but when she first attended the tournament, the “C” in CIAA stood for “colored,” not “central.”
Mrs. Sansom, who still resides in Raleigh, has four children, six grandchildren and one great grandchild. She says today that she “is blessed to still be here.”
Mrs. Sansom has broken through barriers so that women cannot only play athletics, but now receive scholarships and even have the possibility of a pro career. She also serves as an example of how education and activity can keep one young, even into your nineties.
Shaw University was founded in 1865 and is the oldest historically black university in the south. Shaw University is a private, co-educational, liberal arts University that awards degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The primary mission of Shaw University is teaching with the commitment to maintain excellence in research and academic programs that foster intellectual enhancement and technological skills.