Nathan Adrian announced as UC Berkeley’s 2018 winter commencement speaker

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Three-time Olympic swimmer and UC Berkeley alumnus Nathan Adrian has been named as the 2018 winter commencement speaker by the UC Berkeley Senior Class Council.

On the official website for the U.S. Olympic team, Adrian is listed as an eight-time Olympic medalist, with five gold, one silver and two bronze medals. Adrian competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Jesse Gil, the senior class president, said Adrian excelled in many ways since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2012. Gil added that Adrian spent time after competing in the Olympics giving back to his community by teaching children how to swim and volunteering for charity organizations, such as the Salvation Army.

“We, the Senior Class Council, really feel he truly embodies what it means to be a Golden Bear,” Gil said.

Adrian won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 400-meter free relay — while also setting a then-world record in the prelims with a time of 3:12.23 minutes, according to the Cal Athletics website.

Gil said the process to choose the winter commencement speaker is the same for spring. A mass email is sent to the graduating class of that semester asking for recommendations, and after, the council goes through the recommendations to send a final name to campus administration for final approval.

The youngest of three, Adrian comes from a family of swimmers, as his two older siblings Donella and Justin have both swam competitively, according to the U.S. Olympic Team’s website.

Adrian also has a street named after him in his hometown, Bremerton, Washington, his personal website states.

“We do think Nathan excelled, not only winning gold, but receiving a degree from Cal … while training for the Olympics,” Gil said.


Francesca Munsayac is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @fcfm_dc.