Indoor Track Dedicated To Olympic Star
May 4, 2001
University Park, Pa.—Penn State officials today (May 4) dedicated the 200-meter indoor track at the University’s Multi-Sport Facility in honor of Olympic gold medalist and alumnus Horace Ashenfelter and his wife, Lillian, of Glen Ridge, N.J. The naming of the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track recognizes both Horace Ashenfelter’s athletic prowess and the couple’s generosity.
Horace Ashenfelter won the gold medal in the 3000 meter steeplechase, setting a new world record, in the 1952 Olympic games in Helsinki, Finland. While at Penn State, he was the NCAA two-mile champion in 1949 and finished second in the 1947 NCAA cross-country championships.
The Ashenfelters recently made a major financial gift to Penn State’s Department of Athletics, to benefit the track and field program.
“The name of Horace Ashenfelter is a landmark in the world of track and field,” said Harry Groves, Penn State head coach of track and field. “The story of how he first started in the sport at Penn State and his accomplishments later have garnered him a high place of esteem in the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. He has been an active supporter during my entire 33-year tenure as Penn State coach. He and Lillian have provided great encouragement and are genuine friends.”
Horace Ashenfelter, a native of Phoenixville, entered Penn State in 1942, and then joined the U.S. Air Force a year later, serving as a fighter pilot before resuming his studies and obtaining his degree in physical education in 1949. He became an FBI agent in 1950, and returned to Penn State for a master’s degree, which he received in 1955.
He left the FBI in 1959 for a job with Englehard Industries, a precious metal refining and processing company, and remained in the precious-metals industry until he retired in 1993.
In 1952, the year he won the Olympic gold medal, Horace Ashenfelter was the recipient of the prestigious James Edward Sullivan Award, given to the USA’s top amateur athlete. He also competed in the 1956 Olympics. He received All-America honors four times and won 15 gold medals in AAU championships. In 1975 he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
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