NEWPORT, R.I. - Our Salve Regina sailing family is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our founder and biggest cheerleader, Sister Esther Whalen.
Sister Esther was a very active member of the Salve Regina community for over 30 years, earning herself the nickname "The Walking Encyclopedia" for her vast knowledge of all things related to Salve Regina and Newport. She had a natural love for the ocean, which drove her to become involved with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Castle Hill Flotilla 806, where she received a medal of honor for service on operational patrols and a commendation for relief duty.
A true enthusiast for the water, Sister Esther was the key player in the establishment of our varsity sailing team at Salve Regina. Her continued support for the team went far beyond the realms of organizing and fundraising; she would often be found driving sailors from campus to Fort Adams for practice, and even accompanying head coach John Ingalls on the chase boat during practices and regattas.
At the 2008 College Sailing National Championships hosted by Salve Regina, Sister Esther was inducted into the ICSA Hall of Fame for her long time dedication to the sport. In 2011, she was inducted into the Salve Regina Athletics Hall of Fame for her unwavering commitment to the team and dedication to its current and future successes.
Sister Esther began her tenure at Salve Regina as the Director of Public Information. In addition to being a founder and lead supporter of Salve Regina's sailing team, she helped establish the institution's first equestrian program. She was also instrumental in the development and success of the Circle of Scholars as well as many other programs, publications and special events.
Sister Esther's unique spirit, drive, and wit will be greatly missed, but we will be forever grateful for the substantial groundwork she has laid for our team, paving the way for continued growth and success. Thank you, Sister Esther, for helping our Seahawks soar!