MELBOURNE, Fla. – Florida Tech Women’s Rowing Team is proud to announce the christening of their new The Pocock Wing-Rigger Four-with-coxswain. The boat
was named in honor of Valerie Barber PhD on Saturday, February 10th.
Valerie Barber rowed for Florida Institute of Technology from 1974 through 1978. Dr. Barber graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1978. During her time at
Florida Tech she was a leader in Women’s rowing both at Florida Tech and in the State of Florida. As an undergraduate she was noted for challenging the
Athletic Department to provide better equipment for the Women’s Team. On her visit this past weekend to Florida Tech, she noted how all of the equipment
the women row with is new and bought specifically for them. In her glory days, she reminisced how all of their equipment was passed down from the men’s
program; warn down and extremely heavy. Dr. Barber was impressed with the newness of all of the women’s equipment and how light the rowing shells have
become over the past 20 years. She was extremely excited to see how the Florida Tech Anchorage has changed over the years and how the team’s equipment have
been improved over the years.
Being a leader of the women’s program in the 70’s, Dr. Barber was asked to join up with other oarswomen from Florida and race as a composite team. This
combination of oarswomen led her to being named to the 1978 World Championship U.S. Women’s 8. Dr. Barber, rowing in the 5 seat, finished 4th at the world
championships on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand. She was Florida Tech’s 1st oarswomen named to a U.S. National Rowing Team and 2nd alumnus to row for the
U.S.A. After graduating she continued her training with the University Boat Club in Philadelphia, PA and was later named to the U.S. 1980 Olympic Team. Out
of the boat and on stable ground, Dr. Barber continued her education earning her M.S. and PhD from the University of Alaska. She is currently an Assistant
Professor working on the UA Sitka Campus.
For coverage from Florida Today check out Carl Kotala’s Wednesday’s college column: