Sports legend to send off grads

Excitement rises for the senior class as graduation draws nearer, and the administration plans for the ceremony by announcing its guest speaker. Tennis champion Billie Jean King will address graduates at the Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 22, according to a press release. “I think Billie Jean King is a good choice for the commencement speaker,” SGA President Kofi Mensah said. “She has a lot of qualifications and a good life story that I think many students will find interesting.” President Daniel Mark Fogel selects the commencement speaker based on recommendations from an Honorary Degree workgroup on the Board of Trustees, which includes student representatives, Chief of Staff Gary Derr said. “I’m excited for commencement and look forward to hearing what King has to say,” senior Anja Sturies said. Commencement speakers are chosen based on how well they reflect the University’s values, goals and strategic priorities, Derr said. King has worked for social justice and gender equality and was awarded the civilian honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2009, the press release stated. A pioneer in women’s sports, King is one of Life magazine’s 100 Most Important Americans in the 20th Century, the press release stated. King was the first women to be named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year in 1972, after capturing every Grand Slam singles title, the press release stated. “Most famously, she routed former champion Bobby Riggs in three straight sets, a message to athletes and spectators young and old,” according to the press release. For questions on the 2011 commencement, visit the commencement web site at