Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen has demonstrated his ability to overcome tremendous obstacles. Based on his own life experiences, developing perseverance and perspective will be the central focus of the message he delivers to 634 Plymouth State University graduates during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 22.
Jansen was a four time member of the United State’s Olympic delegation, competing in 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1994. Jansen took home the gold and set a new world record for the men’s 1,000 meter speed skating at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. He has won 20 World Championship medals and over 50 World Cup medals. In addition to skating, he is the founder of the Dan Jansen Foundation, an organization which supports youth in athletics and leukemia research, the disease which claimed the life of his sister.
“Dan Jansen did not give up on achieving his dreams, even in the face of great adversity,” noted Senior Class Treasurer Tim Carrigan. “He persevered and eventually achieved his ultimate goal of winning an Olympic gold medal. We hope his uplifting message will inspire our classmates to achieve their own dreams after graduation.”
When asked what he looks forward to impressing upon the graduating seniors, Jansen responded, “I hope the students can take life lessons with them. Many of the lessons I learned in my competitive Olympic career are lessons that can be used throughout life. I hope to encourage them to learn from all the situations they will face, both the good and the bad, to keep life in perspective, and give back to their communities.”
Plymouth State University undergraduate commencement exercises begin at 10 a.m. on May 22. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on Currier Memorial Field.