As a teacher and adminstrator, Marilyn Pomfret has made a major contribution to advancing the opportunities for girls and women in competitive sports. Marilyn grew up in Winnipeg, but moved to Vancouver in 1951 to attend UBC. After teaching high school for nine years, she returned to her alma mater to teach, coach and serve as Women’s Athletic Director (1963-69 and 1972-86). As coach of the Thunderbirds volleyball team, her squad won two national titles in eleven years.

As an administrator, Marilyn lobbied for more opportunities and better funding for women athletes. Under her leadership, UBC’s women’s volleyball, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, swimming, diving and field hockey teams became powerhouses in the 1970’s. In 1969 Marilyn worked with other athletic directors across the country to introduce national championships for women’s university sports. She was the Founding President (1969-71) of the Canadian Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Union. Pomfret was instrumental in the creation of national championships in basketball, track and field, volleyball and soccer. She also worked on the committee to amalgamate the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (men) and the CWIA into one governance for University sport, which became the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU). Marilyn was the CIAU Chair from 1978-81 and sat on several CIAU committees.

Marilyn’s outstanding impact has been the stewardship of long-term opportunities for girls and women to participate and compete in high quality sport programmes in BC and in Canada. The National University Women’s Championships, the BC High School Girls’ Championships (in several sports) and the extensive women’s athletic programme she developed over twenty years at UBC have served as models to inspire others to initiate sport programmes for females.

Off campus, she organized and established the BC High School Girls Volleyball Tournament, the Vancouver Women’s Volleyball League and was among the founders of the BC Volleyball Association. Upon her retirement in 1986, Marilyn was awarded the CIAU Austin-Matthews Award for outstanding contribution to the development of university sport in Canada and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in 1986. Since 1984, the Marilyn Pomfret Trophy has been given to UBC’s outstanding female athlete. Countless professional and volunteer leaders received their early motivation and guidance from Marilyn Pomfret as she demonstrated her leadership in the field of sport.

Pomfret is also inducted in the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. For his UBC biography, please visit