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Gold-Medal Olympian Named Winter Commencement Speaker

Dominique Dawes ’02 to Congratulate Graduates at Virtual Ceremony

By Maryland Today Staff

University President Darryll J. Pines sent the following email to the campus community today: 

I am delighted to announce that three-time Olympian and Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes ’02 will deliver the university's virtual commencement address on Dec. 20.

Our Distinguished Speaker
Ms. Dawes, a dedicated gymnast since the age of 6, saw success early in her career. In her first appearance in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, she earned a bronze medal with Team USA. She was a member of the gold-medal Olympic team known as the “Magnificent Seven” in 1996. That same year, she also became the first African-American woman to win an individual event medal for her floor routine. She went on to earn an additional bronze team medal competing in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. These trailblazing performances earned her a permanent place in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame.

While advancing her career on the mat, she was enrolled at the University of Maryland. Ms. Dawes earned her degree in communication in 2002 after taking time off to compete. She used her degree and her life experiences to become an accomplished motivational speaker focusing on leadership, teamwork, health, fitness and wellness.

Currently, Ms. Dawes is the owner and founder of the Dominique Dawes Gymnastics & Ninja Academy, which recently opened in nearby Montgomery County, with a mission to inspire today's generation of gymnasts in a safe, supportive and empowering environment.

Our alum's dedication to reaching back to help others, coupled with her experiences with perseverance and success, make her a shining example of the impact Terps can have on the world and in our state. We are delighted to welcome her back to her alma mater to share her story and help commemorate this special occasion for our graduates.

Commencement Ceremony
We are working to create an interactive virtual commencement ceremony that celebrates the academic success of our graduates, alongside family, friends, faculty, alumni and staff.

All graduates and their families can find details at, including deadlines for the delivery of grad packages and submitting photos to be included in the ceremony. We want to celebrate you!

Finally, we thank all of our graduates and their families for understanding that the decision to celebrate virtually was made in accordance with state and county health guidelines. We recognize the significance of an in-person event to celebrate our graduates' proud achievements. The university hopes to invite Spring 2020 and Winter 2020 graduates back to campus for a celebration once it is safe to do so.


Darryll J. Pines signature



Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland

Schools & Departments:

College of Arts and Humanities

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