The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Julie Foudy Inspires Students

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Read an MLDP Participant’s account of a campus lecture sponsored by the Office of the President. For more information, about MLDP, click here.

Sophia Vazquez ‘14 with Julie Foudy

I was fortunate enough to attended the Julie Foudy lecture sponsored by the Office of the President. For those of you who do not know, Julie Foudy made the United States Women’s National Soccer Team at age 16 and went on to become a member of the US team in the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup team in 1991. On top of that, she is also a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Now, I would be lying if I said I did not have a poster of this woman and her team in my bedroom as a child. She and her team inspired an entire generation of young girls and started a revolution in the world of women’s sports. 

President Folt and her office brought Foudy to campus to speak in honor of Dartmouth’s 40th Anniversary of Coeducation as well as the passing of Title IX. Foudy herself has a special connection to Title IX, as she sat on the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics when it was up for review, a position she was nominated for by former US Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Thanks to her efforts, Title IX was saved from changes that would have greatly diminished its capacity to promote women in sports. 

To be perfectly honest, I wish everyone at Dartmouth had attended this lecture, regardless of their connection to athletics. Julie Foudy is an incredibly inspiring individual and I could not believe I was sitting in the same room as a woman who not only won gold medals, but helped bring women’s and girls’ participation in sports from 1 in 27 to 1 in 2.5. After opening with some hilarious stories about her journey up to Hanover, Foudy shared about her experience with the National team and what it was like to captain this group of trailblazers. 

Her speech was filled with poignant motivational phrases that should resonate with every leader on campus about how to inspire those we lead. “Success isn’t a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice” is probably my favorite quotes from her speech. A lot of what she talked about had to do with how accomplishing anything in your life is all about the choices you make. She and the team “chose to work their tails off,” they “chose to celebrate others,” they “chose to be courageous,” and they “chose to make a difference.” Choices are what accomplish goals because “leadership is personal, not positional.” I could go on and on about this woman. I spoke to squash player Sarah Loucks ’13 after the lecture and she mirrored my sentiments exactly, “she was really inspiring.” 

Normally I am a little skeptical of some motivational “catchphrases” only because they sound disingenuous, forced, and artificial. But that was the beauty of Julie Foudy and her talk: her motivational comments are not theories or suggestions, they are proven and have actually led people to victory. To anyone who ever told you that you were dreaming too big, take a lesson from Julie Foudy and let that motivate you so you can look back and prove them wrong. It is rewarding to know that someone I idolized as a child really did turn out to be as incredible in real life as I made her out to be in my head all those years ago. 

- Written by Sophia Vazquez ’14, MLDP Participant

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