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Class of 2014

World renowned soccer star and girls’ advocate Brandi Chastain to speak at commencement

Santa Clara University will honor world famous soccer athlete, champion of girls’ health, and 1991 SCU graduate Brandi Chastain at the University’s 163rd undergraduate commencement ceremony June 14. Chastain’s selection to give the commencement address memorializes the 50th anniversary of women’s athletics at Santa Clara which the University celebrates this year.

Chastain is best known for scoring the penalty kick goal that won the United States the 1999 Women’s World Cup and for her passionate celebration in the moments following. Her success earned her a spot as one of People Magazine’s 25 Most Intriguing People that year, while the photo of her celebration was named one of the 100 greatest sports photos of all time by Sports Illustrated. She took home a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic games, a silver medal in 2000 and a gold medal in 2004 games.

More recently, Chastain co-founded the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative in 2005 with a mission to create programs and partnerships through which women athletes bring health, hope, and wholeness to the community. The initiative offers a free weekly after-school program for elementary school girls to develop self-esteem and good health practices with mentoring from women athletes from collegiate and high school teams.

“Brandi epitomizes the world-class leadership and fortitude that every Bronco is capable of achieving,” says SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. “She is a dedicated and disciplined athlete who is also committed to strengthening communities by advocating for and empowering young girls.”

Chastain earned a degree in communication from SCU in 1991. She was named an All-American twice in soccer during her time as a student. She was also the assistant coach for the Santa Clara Broncos from 1994 to 2000 and is currently in her fourth season as a volunteer assistant coach.

"I'm proud to be a part of such a strong legacy of women in sports at Santa Clara," says Chastain. "To be recognized by a school that is deeply committed to empowering the underserved to succeed is an honor."

Chastain will address graduating seniors and their friends and families at the commencement ceremonies June 14 at 8:30 a.m. She will receive an honorary Doctorate of Public Service. Honorary degrees will also be awarded to Rupert and Maryellie Johnson, Rev. Howard A. Lincoln, and the Kino Border Initiative represented by Sean Carroll, S.J.

Other commencement 2014 activities:

Santa Clara University School of Law, May 24
Almudena Bernabeu, an attorney with the Center for Justice and Accountability whose pursuit of justice for human-rights justice abuses includes helping to prosecute the alleged killers of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989, will be the commencement speaker for Santa Clara University School of Law. Bernabeu will receive an honorary degree in law at the event, being held on May 24 at 9:30 a.m. in the University’s Mission Gardens.

Jesuit School of Theology, May 24
Jon Sobrino, S.J., a Jesuit priest and liberation theologian who narrowly escaped the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests and two others in El Salvador, will be the commencement speaker at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. The ceremony will be held May 24 at 3 p.m. at Zaytuna College in Berkeley. Also at the event, Joseph Chinnici, O.F.M., president of Franciscan School of Theology, will be the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

Graduate Commencement, June 13
Commencement for the students receiving advanced degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, the School of Engineering, the Leavey School of Business, and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology will be held Friday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Leavey Event Center. During the evening, Frederick J. Ferrer, ’80 CEO of the Health Trust and a nationally recognized expert in child development and nonprofit leadership strategies, will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree.

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