In Honor Of Florence Hale Stephenson

In Honor Of Florence Hale Stephenson

Beginning in 1918, Florence Hale Stephenson was the department chair for Physical Education at the San Francisco State Normal School. Throughout an extraordinary career, she dedicated her life to advancing opportunities and expanding possibilities for women in education and athletics. Florence broke down barriers and profoundly transformed the lives of countless scholars. She was a mentor to generations of educators and created a foundation for excellence. Florence’s legacy endures to this day with the support of faculty, alumnae and friends, many of whom have become mentors in their own right to new generations of scholars and educators. The scholarships they support honor students that demonstrate both professional promise and the enduring commitment to improving the lives of girls and young women exemplified by Florence Hale Stephenson and so many of the faculty and alumnae for whom she was a mentor and visionary.

The photo included in this profile was taken at the annual Florence Hale Stephenson Brunch, attended by just a few of the many generations of faculty Florence’s work and legacy affected.


“Florence Hale Stephenson was a mentor and an inspiration. She was hired, in 1918, by the San Francisco State Normal School, as department chair for Physical Education. By the way, it was the first and only physical education department at that time. There were few if any men on campus in the early days of the Normal School. Stephenson had not a degree to her name though she eventually achieved both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. In addition to her administrative duties, she taught classes and coached team games. She began the Women’s Athletic Association, with women participating in basketball, tennis, golf, ice-skating and speedball. Soon, the WAA joined the Athletic Conference of American College Women. Stephenson was still chair when the College moved to the current campus, where, with new gymnasium and field spaces, she could further develop opportunities for women. Florence Hale Stephenson was a visionary. She built and mentored a faculty who were daring and who were visionaries in their own rights and times.”

-Remarks delivered by Emerita Faculty member Bobby Bennett, on behalf of Emerita Professor Eula West, at the annual Florence Hale Stephenson Brunch held on February 8, 2015 at SF State