The Sports: Volleyball and Basketball
The Facility: Originally built in 1961, Smith Gymnasium presents a vibrant and intimidating atmosphere once the fans fill the stands. Known as the Hoop Deck since its earliest days, the playing surface and substructure was an experimental design engineered to reduce stress on joints and shin splints. The original hardwood received a complete makeover in the summer of 2012. The heavy lacquer was removed in favor of a clearer version that shows off the beauty of the wood.
The Namesake: Margaret Chase Smith Gymnasium bears the name of the first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress. The native of Skowhegan, Maine served on House Naval Affairs Committee before rising to the House Armed Services Committee. Her maritime expertise led to the founding of the United States Coast Guard’s female unit, the SPARS and women in the United States Marine Corps. Smith went from the House to the Senate in 1948. She was the first U.S. Senator to speak out against Joseph McCarthy’s anticommunist policies in her famous Declaration of Conscience speech.