Sept. 21, 2007
Washington, DC - The United States Marine Corps Band played "Ever True To Brown" as the Brown Women's Crew marched down the White House stairway and strode onto the South Lawn.
On a sparkling, sunny day in Washington, DC, Brown's 2007 National Champion Women's Crew was honored by President George W. Bush at the White House, along with eight different university sports teams, who were recognized for winning NCAA National Championships in 2007.
With the White House in the background, President Bush spoke to a crowd of over 400 guests seated on the South Lawn. The President cited the Brown squad as the most successful women's crew in NCAA history, a team who had won five national championships and finished in the top three at every NCAA Championship. He stressed the academic success of the crew as well as its athletic success.
"It was an great honor to have President Bush recognize our team as a national champion," said captain Emma Olson '08. "We were the only team where The President acknowledged both our athletic and academic achievements."
"Everyone was extremely honored to be invited to the White House," said Bears' captain Molly Getz `08. It's a unique experience few people ever have a chance to enjoy."
"It's fun to be surrounded by all of the other National Champions," said captain Christine Flynn `08. "President Bush recognized us as champions and as student-athletes."
When the crew arrived at the White House, they were taken on an extensive tour of the East Wing, including some of the special rooms in the White House including the East Room, the Red, Blue and Green Rooms, as well as State Dining Room, Library, Vermeil Room, and China Room.
"The White House is a really welcoming place," commented Olson. "It's a lot smaller than I expected, but it just oozes with historical significance."
President Bush greeted the crew in the East Room, where he chatted and joked with the team for several minutes and posed for a group photo. He told the crew that success in athletics translates into success in life. He spoke warmly about Brown crew coaches John and Phoebe Murphy, who were unable to attend, and passed on his warmest wishes to the Murphy family.
"The President really enjoyed meeting our team," said captain Sarah Wu '08. "He was light hearted, and easy to talk to. He came across as a person who loves sports and understands the hard work we put in as student-athletes."
"The President was really cool," added captain Vanessa Rathbone `08. "I wish we could have hung out with him more. Being in the White House was almost surreal, and we really enjoyed seeing all of the tremendous artwork of former Presidents and First Ladies."
"Being honored at the White House is something we'll all remember for the rest of our lives," added Olson '08. "This may never happen again, and I'm glad I could share this experience with my teammates."
Earlier in the day, the crew was greeted by Rhode Island's United States Senator Jack Reed at his Washington, DC office, where he spoke with the group of 42, including 37 who made the trip from Providence, and five crew graduates, who lived in the Washington DC area.