|Valerie Barber (center) back in her rowing days.|
MELBOURNE, Fla. – Florida Tech will induct four members and one team into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 1 in the Hartley Room at the Denius Student Center on the FIT campus. To honor the Class of 2013, a profile will be posted daily at FloridaTechSports.com for five days. Today’s profile is former rower Dr. Valerie Barber.
Dr. Barber helped pave the way for women’s rowing at Florida Tech. Despite admittedly not knowing the sport of rowing when she arrived in 1974, she rowed all four years for the Panthers.
As a member of the women’s varsity eight, she rowed the seven seat to three state championships and two south region championships. The varsity eight also experienced success on the biggest stage, the Dad Vail Regatta. The Panthers won two silver medals and one bronze during her tenure. Also, Dr. Barber and a women’s four earned a fifth-place medal at the Head of the Charles in Boston in the women’s team’s first-ever appearance.
She says the highlight of her career came during her senior year in 1978. Dr. Barber helped form an eight composed of the top women’s rowers from Florida Tech, University of Central Florida and Tampa. They faced a boat from Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia, Pa., composed of women from the national team and past Olympians. Dr. Barber’s boat won by over two boat lengths.
|Barber in 1978.|
Dr. Barber had her sights set on joining the Peace Corps upon graduating with an oceanography degree from Florida Tech in 1978. However, her passion for rowing steered her to a different path. She made the U.S. rowing team and earned the five seat in the women’s eight. At the World Championships, Dr. Barber and Team USA finished fourth.
Two years later in 1980, Dr. Barber became a U.S. Olympian by earning a seat in the women’s four. She was scheduled to compete in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but USA was one of 65 countries to boycott the games because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Dr. Barber is now an assistant research professor with the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences. She works in Palmer at the Palmer Center for Sustainable Living.
The Florida Tech Sports Hall of Fame will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 in the Hartley Room at the Denius Student Center on the FIT campus. The dinner and program will start at 7 p.m. Former women’s rower Dr. Valerie Barber (’78), men’s soccer players Eddie Enders (’93) and Fidgi Haig (’92), men’s tennis player Khalid Outaleb (’87) and the 1992 Baseball Team will enter as the Class of 2013.
The banquet will be streamed live online at FloridaTechSports.com/live.
(Article provided by Ryan Jones, assistant athletic director for athletic communications, Florida Tech.)