Elizabeth "Penny" Van Horn holds a bachelor degree from Miami University, a master of science degree from Wellesley College, and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Serving as Denison’s first women’s athletic director from 1972 to 1983, Van Horn started and coached women’s intercollegiate basketball, bowling and tennis teams during the 1950’s, ‘60s and ‘70s. She also coached the DU women’s swimming team from 1971 to 1974. During her stint as tennis coach, Van Horn’s teams won several state championships and earned national rankings in the top 10. In 1972, she coached Denison Hall of Famer Steffie Wright to the state championship.
Van Horn held the position of professor of physical education during all her years at Denison. She also established Committee W (status of women) of Denison’s AAUP. She is a member of the National Honor Society for Women in Education, the Cradle of Coaches at Miami University, the Ohio College Association, the Newark Chapter of Business Professional Women, and the First United Methodist Church of Newark.