In honor of UCLA celebrating their centennial birthday, I’ve decided to share the speech I wrote for my farewell banquet honoring the greatest university in the world.
Dear UCLA, thank you for a life I would have never imagined.
For more than half my life you have welcomed me as a steward of one of your most prized crown jewels , our women’s gymnastics program.
As a student you offered me knowledge, you challenged my growth intellectually and you sparked and encouraged my curiosity.
You are the epitome of Wonder and Innovation.
As a leader of young women you expected the highest of integrity and character. I am still in aw that you trusted me with that daunting and magnificent honor.
My dear UCLA, the fact that you only know excellence has been the North Star that we all painstakingly and courageously aim for every new season, every new day. It can at times be overwhelming, but when approached with … Industriousness and Enthusiasm, it has elevated my daily level of intention to heights I would have never honed had I not been representing you.
UCLA you have given me a Bruin family that are the best and the brightest in their fields. But why would I expect anything less… Excellence attracts Excellence.
You have enriched my life beyond measure with fascinating and loyal fans, donors, parents, administrators, coaches and student-athletes.
You bestowed upon me the most unexpected gifts. I could not have dreamt of a more complete mentor than Coach Wooden. You brought me my bosses and fellow coaches of impeccable character and integrity…. all of whom “complete me”. And then you took it up a notch and made us all family.
Above all you brought me a totally selfless, incomparably self-sufficient, and fanatically supportive partner in Bobby Field, who doesn’t just put up with me, but has embraced and often seems to actually enjoy the chaotic lifestyle I bring to our marriage.
My dear UCLA I am forever grateful and beyond blessed that God brought me to you, and that you nurtured, challenged and embraced me with unconditional love, always unconditional love.
My dear illustrious UCLA, with all my heart … I thank you.
Happy 100th Birthday ~
photo courtesy UCLA Newsroom