Phenomenal distance runner with inspirational story of perseverance to speak at May 13 Petco Park ceremony
San Diego, CA – May 10, 2022 – Boston and New York Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi – who competed for the United States in four separate Olympics – will deliver the keynote address at the May 13 Commencement Ceremony for National University, a private nonprofit university with a 50-year history of educating working adults and underrepresented students in higher education.
“Meb is an incredible role model. He never tires of setting new goals for himself, and his message resonates deeply with our university community: That no matter where you are in life, you can achieve great things,” said National University Interim President Randy C. Frisch. “He reminds us every day that we all have the ability to shape our future and achieve our dreams.”
Keflezighi, whose story of perseverance resonates with athletes and non-athletes alike, grew up in San Diego after his family escaped war, famine, and drought in Eritrea, Africa. He started running in middle school and went on to graduate from UCLA. His track record includes four NCAA championships, 23 National Championships, and a place on four U.S. Olympic teams. He won the 2014 Boston Marathon just two weeks before turning 39, becoming the oldest winner of one of the world’s premier distance events. The victory also made Keflezighi the only man in history to win the New York Marathon (2009), the Boston Marathon, and an Olympic medal (silver/2004).
“It’s an honor to speak to students who have the commitment it takes to go back to school and earn a new degree,” Keflezighi said. “So many National University graduates are working professionals, but they refuse to let anything get in the way of reaching their goal. I want to applaud their successes and to encourage them to pursue their passions to contribute for the greater good.”
Keflezighi maintains an unwavering commitment to helping others go the distance in their own lives – physically, professionally, personally, and spiritually. He is a sought-after speaker and author who emphasizes a healthy, active life that focusses on education, community, and a strong moral fabric. Raising three daughters with his wife, Yordanos, Keflezighi also oversees the MEB (Maintaining Excellent Balance) Foundation, which is committed to promoting youth health, education, and fitness.
In addition, during the ceremony Frisch and National University System Chancellor Michael R. Cunningham will confer honorary doctoral degrees on U.C. San Diego Chancellor Dr. Pradeep K. Khosla and Long Island University President Dr. Kimberly R. Cline. Khosla, an internationally renowned electrical and computer engineer, has implemented a strategic transformation at U.C. San Diego, including significantly expanding college access for underserved populations, fostering collaboration to solve societal challenges, and implementing a largescale expansion of housing and classroom space. Cline became the tenth president of Long Island University in July 2013, assuming leadership of one of the largest private universities in the country and taking it through a transformational process to provide students with an exceptional education.
“In the National University System, we believe that it is not just the degree you earn, but the degree to which you use it. We all have the responsibility to use our skills and talents for the greater good,” said Cunningham. “Dr. Khosla and Dr. Cline – two exceptional leaders who have had transformational impacts on the lives of students – exemplify our ideals.”
The 2022 National University Commencement Ceremony is set for 2 p.m. on Friday, May 13, at Petco Park in Downtown San Diego. More than 5,000 students from throughout the country will earn their degrees, with about 2,300 of them on hand Friday to walk across the stage and receive certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. They will be cheered on by 17,000 friends and family in the stands at the ballpark. Following the ceremony, the graduates, their guests, and the National University community will be treated to a private concert and fireworks show.
About National University: National University, a veteran-founded nonprofit, has been dedicated to meeting the needs of hard-working adults by providing accessible, affordable, achievable higher education opportunities since 1971. As San Diego’s largest private nonprofit university, NU offers over 75 online and on-campus programs and flexible four-week classes designed to help students reach their goals while balancing busy lives. Since its founding, the NU community has grown to over 30,000 students and 185,000 alumni around the globe, many of whom serve in helping industries such as business, education, health care, cybersecurity, and law and criminal justice. Learn more at NU.edu.