Olympic gold medalist and philanthropist Joanna Hayes will be on campus Wednesday, March 28 as part of the youth and
nonprofit leadership department’s Giving Back Scholars event.
The Youth and Nonprofit Leadership Student Association will be hosting a reception for Hayes from 2-4 p.m. in the Curris Center Stables and Hayes will be speaking at 6 p.m. in Wrather Auditorium. All events are free and open to the public.
Hayes won the gold while setting an Olympic record for the 100-meter hurdles in the 2004 Olympics and has since opened the Joanna Hayes Foundation where she aspires to influence children and shape the development of their mind, body and spirit.
Hayes was a state, national and Pan American Games champion in high school as well as national high school Athlete of the Year in 1995. She was also an NCAA champion in college as well as Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the year, Track and Field News Athlete of the year and competed on the national team, winning medals at the Pan American Games and the World University Games.
After retiring after her record-setting Olympic experience, Hayes is now making a comeback and is currently training for the Olympic trials.
Inspired to help others and motivate them to do the same, Hayes wants to encourage her audience at Murray State to give without expecting anything in return.
“I want to encourage (the audience Wednesday) to give back in any way – small or large,” Hayes said. “You don’t have to have a lot of money to give back. It doesn’t have to be giving of your money, but maybe giving of your time. It could be mentoring a child for a few years of their life. Just the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped somebody can take you a long way in life.”
For more information about the Giving Back Scholars event, please call the University youth and nonprofit leadership department at 270-809-3808.