USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan posed for a photo outside the Beijing National Stadium known as the Bird's Nest during the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist and author, will return to her hometown to address graduates at UT’s commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 20, at 10 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.
She was scheduled to speak at last year’s fall ceremony, which was slated on Sunday and canceled due to a snowstorm.
UT officials said if Mother Nature intervenes this year, commencement would take place Sunday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m.
There are 1,895 candidates for degrees from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Health Science and Human Service, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and University College Programs. There are 626 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, and 1,269 for bachelor’s and associate degrees.
An honorary doctorate in journalism will be presented to Brennan during the ceremony, which will be webcast live at http://video.utoledo.edu. It will be the first commencement to be held in the renovated Savage Arena.
"I've heard a lot about the new Savage Arena and can't wait to see it,” Brennan wrote in an e-mail. “The Savage family has done so much for UT and the city, and our family has known them forever, it seems, so this is a great honor for me."
Brennan’s column in USA Today makes her one of the most widely read female sports writers in the country. She has written seven books and is a television sports analyst, and is a leading voice on the Olympics, international sports and women’s sports.
She grew up across from the University and watched the Rockets play football and basketball. In her 2006 book,
Best Seat in the House: A Father, A Daughter, A Journey Through Sports, she wrote about watching Toledo in the Glass Bowl during the 35-0 winning streak from 1969 to 1971. In the first father-daughter memoir by a sports writer, she recalled traveling to Florida to see Toledo defeat Richmond, 28-3, in the 1971 Tangerine Bowl.
“Even though I'm based in Washington, D.C., I always reserve the word ‘home’ for Toledo,” Brennan wrote. “I have such fond memories of walking with my dad to the Glass Bowl for Toledo Rocket football games when we lived in Old Orchard. We could see the glow of the stadium lights from our front yard, that's how close we were.
"My fondest memory of the Field House is watching the great Steve Mix play there,” she continued. “I particularly remember his last home game in 1969, when the horn sounded and he went to the bench. That was the last we'd see of him in a Toledo Rocket uniform, my father and I knew. I was 10 and had a tear in my eye when that happened.”
Brennan noted she enjoys returning to the University for events.
“In many ways, it's a return to my childhood, to a wonderful time and place in sports and in my life. Were it not for those Toledo Rockets, for whom I poured out my heart during their 35-0 winning streak, I might not have been so encouraged to follow a career in sports. So it's all come full circle, and I couldn't be happier about that."
After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University in 1980 and 1981, respectively, Brennan became the first woman sports writer at The Miami Herald, where she worked until 1984. She then joined The Washington Post, where she was the first woman to cover the Washington Redskins in 1985.
In 1997, Brennan joined USA Today as a columnist. She broke the news of the pairs figure skating scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, and her April 2002 column on Augusta National Golf Club started a debate on the club’s lack of female members.
The award-winning writer is an on-air commentator for ABC News and ESPN. She has covered the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, and the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Salt Lake City and Torino. She also is a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Brennan’s books include
Inside Edge (1996), which was named one of the all-time top 100 sports books by Sports Illustrated in 2002, and
Edge of Glory (1998), which won an Ohioana Library Association book award.
The Associated Press Sports Editors named Brennan one of the top 10 sports columnists in the category of the nation’s largest newspapers in 2001 and 2003. She has won the Women’s Sports Foundation’s journalism award four times.
In 1988, she was elected the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media. During her two years as leader of the national organization, she started a scholarship-internship program for college-age women. The association honored Brennan with its Pioneer Award in 2004.
Brennan won the U.S. Sports Academy's 2002 media award; was the recipient of the 2003 Jake Wade Award from the College Sports Information Directors of America for an outstanding media contribution to intercollegiate athletics; was named 2005 Woman of the Year by Women in Sports and Events; received the 2005 National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators' Honor Award; and was the recipient of the inaugural Women's Sports Foundation Billie Award for journalism in 2006.
The Toledo native was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.