1st Woman to Row Across Atlantic Ocean Solo Is Billy Reed’s ‘Conversations with Champions’ Guest Wednesday

Spalding University president Tori Murden McClure is Reed's fireside chat guest at 7:30 p.m., March 7 in the LRC's Ward Room.

Georgetown, KY – Tori Murden McClure, the first woman to row across the Atlantic solo, should have a lot to say about personal character when Georgetown College Executive Scholar-in-Residence Billy Reed has her as his guest 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 7) for “Conversations with Champions” in the Richard & Karen Ward Room of the Ensor Learning Resource Center.

McClure, who in July 2010 became of the president of Louisville’s Spalding University – an independent liberal arts institution of more than 2,000 students, no doubt will also share her views on both student-athletes as well as character in collegiate sports. Reed’s series, which is in its second year, is part of Georgetown’s Academy for Character in Sport. 

McClure said in an email, “I emphasize the term ‘scholar-athlete.’ In NCAA Division III, there is less confusion between being a student and being an athlete. The student comes first. I want our athletes to be scholars. In our nation, we’ve done a great disservice in assuming that our young people must be one or the other.

She continued, “I cannot abide the phrase ‘dumb-jock.’ I aspire to be, first and foremost, a scholar. I am also an athlete. I agree with Plato who believed the two elements are hand-in-glove. These are not opposing elements. They are complementary.”

As for character, ethics and integrity, President McClure said, “these are all about making good decisions. Character must be tested before it can lean toward the good or lean toward the bad. The same is true for ethics and integrity.”

Spalding recently became the world’s first “Compassionate University” under the Charter for Compassion. McClure wrote, “At the core of this movement is the golden rule, ‘Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.’ This is not so easy when you think of the ‘other’ as your opponent on the court, the ball field, or in my case the river. I am a rather competitive person, “loving my enemies” (another test of compassion) is something I must work on every day.”

UK football coach Joker Phillips, right, was the Feb. 22 guest of Billy Reed, a former Louisville Courier-Journal sports editor and columnist, and Sports Illustrated contributing writer.

McClure is the author of A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean, (Harper-Collins in 2009), her memoir of a second Atlantic Ocean experience at age 36. She rowed 2,962 miles over 81 days, starting from the Canary Islands and finishing at the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe on December 3, 1999. The hurricane season of ’98 cut short McClure’s first attempt.

A world adventurer and humanitarian, McClure was also the first woman and first American to travel over land to the geographic South Pole, skiing 750 miles from the ice shelf to the pole. An avid mountaineer, she has climbed on several continents.

Tori McClure holds a B.A. from Smith College, a Master of Divinity from Harvard University, and her juris doctorate from the University of Louisville’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. In 2005, she earned her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Spalding.

The final scheduled “conversation” for spring semester returns to Hill Chapel on April 11 with University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich.



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