World-famous soccer athlete and champion of girls’ health, Brandi Chastain ’91 will give the 163rd undergraduate commencement address on 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 silver medal in the 2000 Olympics and a gold medal in 2004 games.
More recent, 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 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.
She will receive an honorary Doctorate of Public Service.