National Intercollegiate Women's Fencing Association

     Three women collegiate fencers, Julia Jones and Dorothy Hafner of New York University and Elizabeth Ross of Cornell University, founded the NIWFA in 1929. The inspiration and model for the new athletic association for women was the men's Intercollegiate Fencing Association (IFA) founded a third of a century before. The purpose of the organization was to develop women's intercollegiate fencing and to sponsor an annual championship.
     New York University won the first team championship. Mrs. Mildred Stuyvesant Fish of New York, donated the perpetual trophy for the team championship. Julia Jones, an N.Y.U. student won the first individual championship. Until her death in 1995, Ms. Jones was the guiding light of the association she helped to establish.
     The Christmas Invitational is an individual event for collegiate women hosted by the NIWFA on the first Sunday in December. Each member college/university may enter a maximum of six foil, six epee and six saber fencers in the annual event. This developmental event for novice fencers sanctions the participation of United States Fencing Association (USFA) Class "C" fencers or below. (Fencers need not be members of the USFA.)
     The competition in each weapon is conducted in a round robin format to a final of six fencers. Fencers eliminated in the first round compete in a consolation round. Each entrant is thereby provided with at least two rounds of fencing competition. The six finalists are awarded Julia Jones Medals. The Evelyn Terhune Trophy is presented to the winner of the foil event. The first place epeeist is awarded the Betty Santelli Trophy and the saber champion, the NIWFA Trophy.
     The NIWFA Team and Individual Championships are held on the last Saturday in February or the first Saturday in March. Foil, epee and saber teams compete in separate round robin formatted championships. A match between each three-member team consists of three bouts. The total number of bouts won determines the team championship.
     The Mildred Stuyvesant Fish Trophy is presented to the Champion Foil Team; the Raymond Miller Trophy to the Champion Epee Team and the Giorgio Santelli Trophy to the Champion Saber Team. The Combined Weapons Team Champion is awarded the Olympians Trophy. The second place team is presented with the West Point Trophy.Each member of the first four teams is awarded a Julia Jones Medal.
     Sixteen fencers in each weapon qualify from the team events for participation in the Direct Elimination Individual Championships. The eight finalists in each weapon are awarded Julia Jones Medals. The Foil Champion is awarded the Julia Jones Trophy; the Epee Champion, the Salle Santelli Women's Epee Team Trophy and the Saber Champion, the Saber Trophy.
     Any college or university granting a degree at the Bachelor's level is invited to become a member of the association. Members of fencing teams must be matriculated, undergraduate, full-time students in good standing. Student athletes must be amateur fencers. Following the guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), fencers are eligible to compete in the NIWFA for a total of four years.
     The NIWFA remains true to the vision of its founders by continuing to provide competitive fencing opportunities for collegiate women and develop their skills in competition. Many NIWFA alumnae continue to be actively involved in fencing.

19 NIWFA alumnae have participated on one or more Olympic Teams
17 NIWFA alumnae have participated on one or more Pan American Teams
15 NIWFA alumnae have won one or more AFLA and USFA National Championships

     How strong is NIWFA competition? Fencing is not a sport which can be measured in absolute terms of how far, how fast or how much. Most NIWFA fencers learn to fence while they are in college, although some started in secondary school or in a club. There is considerable range in skill level among NIWFA fencers. (The competitive filed, however, is approximately that of USFA Class "C" fencers or below.)
     The annual dues for each member college or university are $50.00. The association sets entry fees for the Christmas Invitational and the Annual Championships to meet the cost of each event.

For further information, please contact:
Denise C. O'Connor
224C Buckingham Court
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701