Cameron University's Centennial Celebration continues with guest speaker Beverly Kearney on Tuesday, November 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre. The event is open to the public at no charge, although tickets are required for admission and can be obtained in the CU Office of Community Relations, Room 150, in the Administration Building. A limited number of tickets are available and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a limit of two tickets per person.
"We are privileged to present Beverly Kearney, whose personal journey through triumph and tragedy is indeed inspiring," says CU President Cindy Ross. "Her ‘never give up' attitude is emblematic of her drive to succeed and her ability to overcome challenges that most people would find overwhelming. Coupled with the ability to motivate, empower and realize matchless goals, that attitude has made Beverly Kearney a leader in the world of athletics."
Recognized as one of the most successful coaches in the history of track and field, Beverly Kearney's passion and gift for coaching and mentoring have inspired some of the finest athletes to achieve their greatest successes, including 14 Olympians winning nine Olympic medals. Now in her 16th year as Head Coach of women's track and field at the University of Texas, Kearney's record of six national championships is the highest among African-American coaches in collegiate sports and second among women coaches. In her 18 years overall as a head coach, Kearney has accumulated enough honors to last a lifetime: 35 Coach of the Year honors, 32 NCAA top-10 finishes, six NCAA Championship titles, 35 NCAA individual champions, 18 relay national titles, and 21 conference team championships.
Despite the success she has enjoyed throughout her career, Kearney is no stranger to transition and crisis. In her senior year of high school, she lost her mother and was homeless by the age of 17. She never let circumstances deter her, completing college as a standout athlete and finishing graduate school as an academic scholar.
Adversity hit again in 2002, when she was in a near-fatal car accident that left her in a wheelchair with repeated diagnoses that she would never walk again. Using her own principles, she coached her team from her hospital bed, a wheelchair, a walker, and finally standing and walking on her own, all the while adding more championships to her list of accomplishments.
She was recently honored as one of eight inductees into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the latest in a long list of accolades. Inducted into the prestigious International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 2004, Kearney was subsequently honored by the Buoniconti Foundation as a Great Sports Legend in 2006. She has also received the Giant Steps Award for achieving excellence in academics and athletics while having made significant contributions to the community, the Tempe Sports Authority's Gene Autry Courage Award for men and women in sports who have demonstrated heroism in the face of difficulty or danger, and the Gary Bridwell Courage Award from the Dallas All Sports Foundation for her courageous battle to overcome her traumatic injuries.
Kearney is the founder of Pursuit of Dreams, a non-profit organization that develops mentoring relationships to help people achieve their mental, physical, and spiritual goals.
Beverly Kearney is a living example that greatness is still possible despite extreme obstacles. Through the sheer power of faith, she has come to realize that a positive spirit can outweigh and outlive the most impossible physical circumstances.
November 3, 2008