CORAL GABLES, Fla. – One of the most successful student-athletes in University of Miami history returned to her alma mater Thursday to stress the importance of education.
Lauryn Williams was the keynote speaker at the UM Black Alumni Society & Woodson Williams Marshall Association 2014 Scholarship Reception. The event, held at the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center, honored the 19 University of Miami students selected as 2014 Scholarship recipients.
With several University of Miami leaders in attendance including President Donna Shalala, senior associate AD Jenn Strawley and Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem, Williams delivered a message focused on the importance of education and responsibility.
"There are some things that you can be taught, but there are also some things that you have to learn," Williams said. "The point behind that is to take responsibility for your education and for what you're getting out of life. As you go about your daily tasks and the life skills that you're learning, take responsibility for getting the information that's important to you and really grow as a person."
The three-time Olympic medalist has proven herself an as elite all-around athlete. Williams earned a silver medal in the 100m at the 2004 Olympics and won a gold as part of the 4x100m relay at the 2012 Olympics. This past February, Williams earned a silver medal in women's bobsled, becoming the fifth Olympian to medal in both a Summer and Winter Olympics.
Williams, who was a nine-time All-American at Miami, won the NCAA Championship in the 100m in 2004. She holds the school records for the 55 meters and 200m indoors and the 100m and 200m outdoors. The first former Miami student-athlete to qualify for a Winter Olympics, Williams is the second Hurricane to participate in four Olympics, joining diver Jose "Chemi" Gil.
An athlete with a seemingly endless list of accomplishments, Williams credits her time at Miami for helping her achieve so much success in athletics and life.
"I think there was a really good support system and there was a really positive energy," Williams said of her time at UM. "President Shalala and I arrived in the same year. The energy at the school was changing at that time. It was a really good time period. My freshman year, we went to the national championship in football and it was great to see everyone pumped and excited. To see how people united around something like that gave me the energy to go forward."
Her love for the University of Miami was evident Thursday as she flashed a bright smile while recalling her four years in Coral Gables.
"I am a Hurricane to the core," Williams said. "There was nothing about my experience that I ever regretted. Some people wake up and have a bad day every now and then, but I never had one bad day at 'The U.' I bleed orange and green and any time they ask me to do something I am happy to do it. I would never say 'no' to my school and the place that made me who I am."