JULIA JONES PUGLIESE
A very special person
In the fall of 1928, a New York University freshman walked onto the basketball court to try out for the men's basketball team. Julia Jones was told to leave as the team was not coed. Determined to participate in intercollegiate athletics, Julia and classmate, Dorothy Hafner who were joined by Elizabeth Ross of Cornell University, founded the Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association.
Later, that spring, the first championship, modeled after the men's IFA's, was held at Cornell University. Julia was the winner of the first Women's Intercollegiate Individual Fencing Championship, as well as a member of the winning New York University Team.
Julia coached the New York University team to three NIWFA Championships, 1932, 1933 and 1938. After raising her family, Julia returned to coaching at Hunter College. Julia was named NIWFA Coach of the Year in 1970 when her Hunter College Team won the Championship. Julia Jones is one of three coaches to win the NIWFA Championship at two different colleges. Julia was selected as one of the coaches of the World University Games Team in 1970.
Julia Jones guided the NIWFA from 1929 until her death in 1993 at the age of Eighty-four, one week after coaching Hunter College in the 65th Annual Championship hosted by Vassar College. The NIWFA outlasted the A.I.A.W. and the N.C.A.A. with seventy four continuous Championships, celebrating its seventy fifth on March 1, 2003 at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
The NIWFA grew from an initial membership of four teams, Bryn Mawr College, Cornell University, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania to a membership of thirty two teams and, in the last decade, twenty teams. In 1964, the I.W.F.A. experienced a name change as the numerical and geographic growth of the membership called for a National Championship.
The NIWFA provided intercollegiate competition for women long before Title IX. Julia was at the helm for sixty-five years, encouraging college women to participate in the sport that was her passion. N.I.W.F.A alumna who continued fencing after their collegiate careers have been National Champions and members of Olympic, Pan American and World Championship Teams. Alumna continue to coach college and high school teams, officiate and administrate on local and national levels.
Julia Jones, a woman ahead of her time, guided the association with style and dignity. Her steadfast effort, unyielding support and unwavering love and devotion to the organization she co-founded will forever be remembered by those who were fortunate to experience the N.I.W.F.A. A pioneer in fostering the participation of women in competitive sport, Julia was inducted into the Women's Sports Foundation's Hall of Fame.
Julia Jones, a very special person and a classy lady, was an inspiration. We miss her. . .