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.
Bruce Gardiner has been a significant contributor to Lehigh Athletics now for the last 40 years. He initially came to Lehigh in 1972 as the head men’s swimming and diving coach and spent the next 17 years leading the Engineers in the pool. He oversaw the elevation on the women’s swimming and diving program to varsity status in 1974 and took over as head coach of the women’s program in 1980. He amassed a career record of 111-72, a winning percentage of .607 which at the time was the highest for any swimming coach in Lehigh’s history.
“The thing that struck me the most was knowing the other Lehigh coaches that are already in the Hall of Fame,” Gardiner said of his induction. “They are people I know and have tremendous respect for. To be mentioned in the same breath as coaches like John Whitehead, John Covert and Thad Turner blows me away.”
In 1976, Gardiner was appointed as Lehigh’s first aquatic director, a position which gave him oversight of all phases of swimming and aquatics at the University. In the mid-1980s, he developed the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams into contenders within the East Coast Conference. Gardiner mentored nine men and three women to a total of 20 individual ECC titles from 1976-88. In 1989, Gardiner turned over the swimming and diving programs to Chris Marshall ’88, a student-athlete Gardiner recruited, coached and mentored, who went on to a stellar coaching career of his own.
“It wasn’t about wins and losses, it was about working with the kids,” Gardiner recalled. “We used to say that nobody remembers times or how fast you swam. The things that matter are how hard you worked, your attitude and what kind of teammate you were. That’s the part I enjoyed the most, working with great people and great kids.”
Gardiner moved into the University’s Admissions area where he assumed the responsibility of the admissions for all prospective student-athletes, a position he held for 22 years until his retirement at the end of the 2010-11 academic year. Gardiner had several stints as Lehigh’s interim Director of Admissions, before assuming the role on a permanent basis in 2003 and holding the position for his final eight years.
“I want to congratulate Bruce on this well-deserved honor both as a coach and for his tenure in admissions,” said Lehigh head football coach Andy Coen. “Bruce was extremely helpful over the years in helping our program attract and recruit the type of student athletes which have allowed us to achieve tremendous success.”
In his 22 years in admissions, Gardiner was responsible for the admission of every student-athlete to be part of a Patriot League Championship team, and the admission of more than 90 percent of the school record holders across all of Lehigh’s varsity sports. The 90 percent graduation rate of the student-athletes Gardiner worked with in admissions serves as a testimony to his appreciation for the culture and characteristics of Lehigh University and his ability to identify those in student-athlete candidates for admission.
“The similarities between coaching and working in admissions were pretty amazing,” Gardiner said. “Both are extremely competitive. You have to keep score in both. People are always watching.
He continued, “I really enjoyed the ability to play a small role. I have coached, so I know the challenges and I know how difficult recruiting can be. In my admissions role I tried to help the coaches make the academic side as easy as can be. Then, when there’s a kid we took a chance on who proves me right; that’s very rewarding. It’s unbelievably rewarding.”
Following his retirement from admissions, Gardiner reconnected with the Mountain Hawks’ swimming and diving program, serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the 2011-12 season.
A native of Port Chester, N.Y., Gardiner graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1968 and added a master’s degree in higher education from Springfield in 1972. Prior to his arrival at Lehigh, Gardiner spent four years as the head swimming coach at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut and was director of physical education at the Westport YMCA. Gardiner is married to his wife Kathy. He has two children, James and Heather ’98, and three grandchildren.
A native of Nyack, N.Y., Dan Smith was a midfielder on the lacrosse team at Lehigh University during a very successful period for the sport. Remarkably, the first lacrosse game he ever witnessed was one in which he played. During Smith’s three varsity seasons, the Brown and White amassed a 26-12 record. Smith was also a member of Lehigh’s swimming and diving team and was active on campus, serving as vice president and treasurer for the class of 1971 as well as a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
Smith graduated from Lehigh in 1971 with a degree in industrial engineering and went on to serve as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Following his service in the Navy, Smith began post-graduate studies at Harvard, where he earned an MBA in 1976.
In business, Smith’s career has been distinguished by leadership positions at a number of high-technology companies in the telecommunications industry. These include two companies that Smith helped found and where he served as President and CEO, including his present company Sycamore Networks, a market leader in optical networking. Widely regarded as one of the top leaders in his industry, Smith has been recognized by Forbes Magazine, Ernst & Young LLP, and the Massachusetts Telecommunications Council for his leadership skills and business accomplishments in the networking space.
Smith has served on the Board of Trustees at Lehigh University since 2000 and has served as Chair since 2007. In addition to gifts in support of Lehigh’s academic and research mission, Smith has provided leadership and financial support for the Smith Family Chair in Men’s Lacrosse as well as several athletics facility projects. He has also been a valued contributor to the annual Athletics Partnership fund.
"Dan Smith represents everything that is great about Lehigh University and Lehigh Athletics,” said Kevin Cassese, Lehigh’s Smith Family Head Lacrosse coach. “He is incredibly supportive, highly competitive, and always humble. His tireless work and dedication to increasing the visibility of the long-standing traditions of excellence and achievement at this outstanding institution are appreciated by all who are linked by the common bond of the Brown and White."
“Lehigh’s academic and athletic missions have always been important to me,” Smith said. “My reasons for giving back are founded on the positive experiences I had at Lehigh and a desire to assist others in the opportunity to enjoy similar experiences.”
More importantly, Smith has provided credible and transformational leadership in his board role regarding the stability of the Patriot League, the evolution of merit aid for scholar athletes at Lehigh, and the level of appreciation for the educational role of coaches and support personnel in athletics in the development of leaders. Smith’s belief in the importance of supporting outstanding people as the foundation of a quality organization has influenced both the University and the stability of the Lehigh Athletics staff.
“Lehigh has always been characterized as an institution that thrives on competition,” Smith said. “We compete globally and nationally in academics, of course, but also in athletics. In both cases, Lehigh’s competitive success depends heavily on the strength of its people. My efforts have been, and will continue to be, focused on supporting Lehigh in competing as strongly as possible in these areas.”
Smith continued, “Lehigh’s overall mission is to develop leaders who will make a difference in the world. We accomplish this through the strengths of our academic and athletic programs. The University’s athletic mission of training outstanding leaders is tightly linked with our academic mission. We are blessed to have coaches and administrators who understand the importance of this mission and work tirelessly to make Lehigh as strong as it can be.
Smith has made enduring contributions to Lehigh University and Lehigh Athletics through his vision, ambition, confidence, and optimism. He has led by example and through highly credible influence. His preference would be to shun the spotlight and instead render his leadership and support in obscurity. Yet his impact on people, on Lehigh’s competitive aspirations, and in the example of his conduct warrant the recognition and appreciation associated with Hall of Fame election.
“I am humbled, appreciative, and deeply honored to be included in this year’s class,” Smith said.
Smith and his wife Elizabeth Riley have two children, Emily and Daniel III.
The annual Roger S. Penske/Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame induction is sponsored by the Lehigh Athletics Partnership.