Alumna and five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history, will address the Class of 2022 as this year’s Commencement speaker, officials announced Wednesday.
Meyers Taylor, who played softball for the University as an undergraduate after becoming the softball program’s first recruit, competes as a bobsledder for Team USA and became the national program’s most decorated athlete of all time during this year’s Winter Olympics. She received a Bachelor of Science from GW in 2006, a Master of Tourism Administration in 2011 and an honorary Doctor of Public Service in 2018.
Meyers Taylor is a three-time Winter Olympian and has reached the podium in every showing of her Olympic career.
She will also receive the GW President’s Medal, the highest honor the University president can bestow.
“I am so grateful to George Washington University for the start I had not just in my education but also in competitive sports and the life lessons that have come from that,” Meyers Taylor said in a release. “I am honored to receive the GW President’s Medal and to return and speak with students about all the limitless opportunity that lies ahead of them.”
She became the first woman to collect two bobsled medals in a single Olympics with the addition of the monobob event this year. Meyers Taylor was also among the 72 alumni recognized in October as “monumental alumni” as part of GW’s bicentennial celebrations, and she addressed graduates from the Class of 2018 when she received her honorary degree that year.
“As a Monumental Alumna and honorary degree recipient, an individual committed to serving her communities, a member of the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame and the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympics history, Elana Meyers Taylor will serve as an inspiration to our graduates, motivating them to become leaders at this critical time in history,” interim University President Mark Wrighton said in the release.
This year’s Commencement will be the first traditional spring in-person ceremony since 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. The University held a joint in-person ceremony on the National Mall for the classes of 2020 and 2021 in October.