Former CSU Track Trailblazer Garners National Tribute With “Lift Every Voice”
Several women have come through Colorado State Athletics and have made history. We're pretty well known for a few notable female athletes, like Amy Van Dyken and Becky Hammon, but get ready to add another to the list: Lillian Greene-Chamberlain.
Greene-Chamberlain made history at Colorado State University for the Track and Field program, but she has now garnered more national attention as one of the featured subjects of Hearst Media's "Lift Every Voice" project. The project has also been heavily promoted by Oprah Winfrey.
"Lift Every Voice" is a project that pairs young Black journalists and the oldest generation of Black Americans to bring inspiring stories to light. The full package of stories debuted on Oprah Daily, and there was a distinct mission for the project.
In an article with Hearst, the general manager of Oprah Daily, Alison Overholt, is quoted sharing their mission for "Lift Every Voice", saying:
First, to share inspiring - and often untold - Black stories from the generation that has seen and experienced the most. And second, to open the door to a new generation of Black professionals [...] who connect with and tell the stories of these elders of American society.
From start to finish, photography to writing to production and everything in between, the project has involved a new generation of Black creators. Greene-Chamberlain had her story showcased in Runner's World as well as Oprah Daily.
With several accolades to her name, Greene-Chamberlain solidified herself in CSU history books and national history books. Prior to competing at CSU, Greene-Chamberlain was discovered at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago where she set an American record in the 400-meter event, according to the Runner's World article.
There, a CSU official saw her compete and approached her with the opportunity to come to Colorado State and help establish an intercollegiate track and field program at the university.
According to CSU record books, in her time in Fort Collins, Greene-Chamberlain not only helped establish CSU's first women's track team in university history, but she was also the first African American female athlete in all of CSU history. Additionally, she was the recipient of the first women's athletic scholarship at CSU. Before she was offered the scholarship, Runner's World says she worked in her dorm dining hall to pay her way through school.
The scholarship Greene-Chamberlain received became the Lillian Greene Scholarship fund. And rightfully so because, after her time at CSU, Greene-Chamberlain went on to receive her PhD from Fordham University. From there, she served as the U.N. Director of Physical Education and Sports for ten years, according to her Runner's World story.
To view more "Lift Every Voice" stories, check out the full collection here.
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