History-making athlete Kathrine Switzer announced as 2018 Commencement Speaker

Kathrine Switzer named 2018 Commencement Speaker

Switzer has been a leading voice for women in sports ever since her dramatic Boston Marathon run.
Published: March 23, 2018

Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, will deliver Syracuse University’s 2018 Commencement Address on Sunday, May 13, at the Carrier Dome, as announced by the University on Friday.

Switzer was the first woman to officially enter and run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry in 1967. As a 20-year-old Syracuse University junior at the time, she was revolutionizing women’s running.

“Fifty years ago, when I was an emerging athlete and a determined young advocate for women’s sports, I was sitting in that audience of graduates imagining what the future would hold. I predicted many things, but I never, ever, could have predicted that one day I would be speaking to that audience!” Switzer said in a statement.


Over the last five decades, she has worked towards creating more opportunities for women in sports. She created the Avon International Running Circuit, which allows over a million participants to compete in women’s only races in 27 countries. The global popularity of these races merited the inclusion of the women’s marathon in the Olympic Games, which came into effect during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. She also established 261 Fearless, a global nonprofit that empowers women through running.

Switzer received both her undergraduate degrees in journalism and english, and her masters in public relations from Syracuse University.

Apart from being internationally recognized for her activism in advancing women’s sport, health and equality, Switzer is also an Emmy Award-winning television commentator and author.

“As an alumna of Syracuse University, Kathrine Switzer effectively embodies what it means to be Orange,” Senior Class Marshal Anjana Pati said in a statement. “She challenges problematic discourse and systems, advocates for positive change, and continues to work toward a better world. She is a role model to many, including myself.”