Posted: 04/28/2012 | Last updated: May 2, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Lehigh held its annual Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall Fame banquet and induction ceremony on Saturday April 28, 2012 on the university’s Asa Packer Campus. Volleyball standout Kim (Freedman) Kellow ’99 was inducted following her election in the class of 2011, while former swimming and diving coach and director of admissions Bruce Gardiner and University Board of Trustees Chairman and former lacrosse student-athlete Dan Smith ’71 were inducted as part of a special election process.
Board of Trustees member and former tennis student-athlete Ron Ulrich ’66 was also elected in the class of 2012, but will defer his induction until next year due to a travel and scheduling conflict.
Kimberly (Freedman) Kellow ‘99 had arguably one of the greatest careers of any women’s volleyball player in Lehigh history, setting the school record for kills in a season (566) and ranking second in school history in career kills with 1229. She was a member of Lehigh volleyball’s first ever NCAA tournament team in 1997 and was a two-time All-Patriot League first-team honoree.
“I am humbled because this one of those once in a lifetime things,” Kellow said in regards to her induction. “Volleyball is a team sport. Many of my achievements were only possible because I had such great teammates, friends and coaches. In a way, this is for all of them.”
“This has special meaning to me because I set her up for so many of those kills,” added Patty (Watson) Heckler ’99, Kellow’s classmate, roommate and setter. “Volleyball is a team sport and we see this as an honor for our entire team, but Kim deserves this because she was so athletically skilled. I’m very proud of her.”
In 1996, Kellow appeared in 25 matches where she recorded 245 kills and 87 digs. Things picked up for Kellow in her junior season where she had 411 kills and led Lehigh to a Patriot League Tournament title and its first and thus far only trip to the NCAA Tournament. A first team All-Patriot League selection, Kellow was named most outstanding player at the early-season Lehigh Invitational and was named to the All-Tournament team at the Navy Classic. She captured a pair of Patriot League weekly awards, and was named the Most Valuable Player at the Patriot League Tournament.
“Winning that Patriot League championship my junior year sticks out the most,” Kellow said. “It couldn’t have gotten any better than it was that year. We were prepared physically, emotionally and mentally. There were tough times, but we stuck together. Our team was so close. We wanted to be there every day to hold each other up.”
As a senior in 1998, Kellow enjoyed another tremendous season, with a program-record 566 kills. She was named to three different All-Tournament teams in the early season, including the Lehigh Mountain Hawk Classic. She was twice recognized as the Patriot League’s Player of the Week, and went on to earn Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors as well.
“The amazing thing about Kim is that she didn’t come to Lehigh with a lot of volleyball skills,” Heckler said. “She had raw talent and was smart but her game was unpolished. Within two years she turned herself into a MVP-caliber, All-Conference player. She did that through dedication and her will to be the best she could be.”
Kellow excelled off the court, graduating with a 3.59 grade point average. She was a Presidential Scholar, a member of the Dean’s List in 1997 and 1998, a two-time Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year for volleyball, and a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection in 1998. She was recognized as Lehigh’s Graduating Female Athlete of the Year in 1999.
“Lehigh is the perfect mix of a school where you can participate in athletics, and not have it take over your life, and also focus on your classes and the bigger things in life,” Kellow said. “I see my Lehigh experience as being pivotal to getting me where I am now and I’m extremely grateful for that.”
“Kim made herself a great volleyball player and a scholar-athlete,” Heckler said. “My admiration for her comes from her ability to be the whole package, and be an example of what a true scholar-athlete should be.”
After graduating with a B.S. in Biology, Kellow began her masters in Chemistry as a Presidential Scholar so she could pursue her dream as a perfumer. Kellow is now just one of only 500 perfumers in the entire world.
Born in Illinois, Kellow grew up in Bucks County, Pa. and graduated from Quakertown high school, She spent ten years in Europe, three in Switzerland and seven in London. Kellow has since relocated to New Jersey with her children Easton and Lila Grace. She now works for Takasago International, a Japanese fragrance corporation.
The annual Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame induction is sponsored by the Lehigh Athletics Partnership.