SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University will honor world famous soccer athlete, champion of girls' health, 1991 SCU graduate and women's soccer Volunteer Assistant Coach 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.
"I'm proud to be a part of such a strong legacy of women in sports at Santa Clara," said Chastain. "To be recognized by a school that is deeply committed to empowering the underserved to succeed is an honor."
"Brandi epitomizes the world-class leadership and fortitude that every Bronco is capable of achieving," said Santa Clara 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 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 Olympics, a silver medal in 2000 and a gold medal in the 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.
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 1994-2000 and is currently in her fourth season as a volunteer assistant coach.
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.