Gertude Peoples Honored with 2011 E.R. "Rusty" Young
At our 2011 Scholar-Athlete Awards, Gertrude Peoples, Former Director UW Student-Athlete Academic Services, was honored with the E.R. "Rusty" Young
Gertrude Peoples began her career at the UW in 1969 as an academic counselor with EOP. Her unique talent to connect with students and other UW departments during a time of social unrest led to her becoming an academic advisor to UW student-athletes in 1970.
Peoples was charged with the task of helping ease racial tensions that were occurring in the athletic department at that time. Not only did she successfully lead the integration of African-American football players into the campus community, she enhanced the level of academic support received by student-athletes of all ethnicities and genders. Peoples started the country’s first academic support office for college student athletes, setting the standard for similar programs across the nation.
By 1973, she was accompanying the football coaching staff on home recruiting visits as the first female recruiter for athletics at a major university. She was featured in both Ebony Magazine and Sports Illustrated during that time.
She has been a mentor to countless student-athletes including Husky football legends Warren Moon, Mario Bailey, Spider Gaines, and Greg Lewis. Two athletic department awards have been named in her honor. The Gertrude Peoples Scholarship Award is presented to a senior student-athlete pursuing a graduate degree, while the Gertrude Peoples Award is given to a UW coach who goes above and beyond expectations in helping their student-athletes with academics.
Currently in semi-retirement, Peoples, a devoted Mother and Grandmother, recently battled breast cancer after being diagnosed last May.