Title IX at 50: Volleyball’s Grace Pettinger

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the seventh installment of our Title IX celebration, Grace Pettinger ’21, talks on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast about her experiences as a volleyball student-athlete and the research she did as a history major. Before graduating, Pettinger published an article about the early days of women’s sports at Hope College for The Joint Archives of Holland.

Grace Pettinger returns a serve on the volleyball court.
Grace Pettinger ’21

A Hope College Women’s Athletic Association jacket from the 1950s was left on the doorsteps of the Holland Museum. The anonymous donation served up an fulfilling research opportunity for Grace Pettinger ’21.

The Hope College student-athlete studied an era before Title IX became law in 1992 and opened academic and athletics opportunities women like her enjoy today. She published an article titled “The Women’s Athletic Association: The Foundation of Women’s Sports at Hope College” in the Spring 2021 edition of The Joint Archives Quarterly.

The Joint Archives of Holland is a department of Van Wylen Library and promotes the educational mission of Hope College and its partner institutions by actively collecting, caring for, interpreting and making available the unique historical resources in its care.

Pettinger worked for The Joint Archives while pursuing her studies at Hope and playing volleyball for the nationally-ranked Flying Dutch.

‘I want them to be remembered too’

In the latest edition of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Pettinger discussed with sports information director Alan Babbitt about her experiences as a student-athlete, the opportunities Title IX gave her, and what she learned from her research into the Women’s Athletic Association at Hope.

Grace Pettinger poses for a portrait.
Grace Pettinger

“As a history major and someone who’s kind of obsessed with telling these stories, I always think about how I really want in the future someone to care enough to go through my jackets and my scrapbooks or someone to care enough to find my story,” Pettinger said. “I am so thankful for the people and women around me that empower me to do to work on women’s stories from the past.

“I want them to be remembered too and for them to be sought after in the future.”

Pettinger completed her studies at Hope in December. She plans to attend a graduate school to be determined to work on her M.A. in history and an M.S. in library sciences. She wants to become an archives librarian in a college or university setting.

Last fall, Pettinger helped Hope claim an outright MIAA championship in volleyball. She played in the back row as a defensive specialist. The Flying Dutch advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Division III Championships.

Written transcript of the interview

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *