San Diego, CA – Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and world-record holding athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee will serve as the keynote speaker at National University’s 2004 commencement ceremony in San Diego on Sunday, May 9. The ceremony will include graduates from academic centers in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Ms. Joyner-Kersee overcame poverty, discrimination, personal tragedy and asthma to become the most decorated woman in U.S. Olympic track and field history, with a total of six medals to her name. Her mother passed away from a rare disease at age 37 while Ms Joyner-Kersee was a freshman at UCLA. Nevertheless, the All-America athlete remained focused and determined.
After earning a Silver Medal in the 1984 Olympics, she won nine consecutive heptathlons before winning two Gold Medals in the 1988 Olympics. Her heptathlon victory set a still-standing world record and her long jump victory set an Olympic record.
In the 1992 Olympics, Ms. Joyner-Kersee earned another Gold Medal in the heptathlon. She earned a Bronze Medal in the long jump event at the 1996 Olympics, after suffering a hamstring injury in the 100 meter hurdles. Four years later, the track and field legend came close to qualifying for her fifth Olympic team. She announced her retirement in 2001 at age 38.
Ms. Joyner-Kersee has received many awards, including James E. Sullivan Award and the Jesse Owens Award. She was named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1987 and the Sporting News Man of the Year in 1988. For more information regarding Jackie Joyner-Kersee or National University’s 2004 Sacramento commencement, please contact Hoyt Smith at (858) 642-8111, or visit National University’s website at www.nu.edu .