ESPN Anchor Hannah Storm to speak at 2018 graduation ceremony

By Danny Politoski | February 18, 2018 9:32pm
Sports broadcaster Hannah Storm and entrepreneur Jessica Jackley will speak at the 2018 commencement ceremonies.
Media Credit: The Beacon / The Beacon

The University of Portland has announced the guest speakers for the 2018 Commencement ceremonies — entrepreneur and investor Jessica Jackley and sports journalist Hannah Storm will deliver words of inspiration to the students of the class of 2018 as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

There will be two commencement ceremonies that take place on Sunday, May 6. Commencement I will begin at 10 a.m. and is for graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. Commencement II begins at 3 p.m. and is for graduates of the Pamplin School of Business, the Shiley School of Engineering and the School of Nursing.

Jessica Jackley is the founder of the micro-lending company Kiva. Photo by Ed Schipul.

Jackley will be the speaker at the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony. She is an entrepreneur, investor and speaker. For the past decade, her work has focused on financial inclusion, the sharing economy and social justice. She is best known as a cofounder of Kiva, a micro-lending website that lets internet users lend as little as $25 to individual entrepreneurs, providing them with affordable capital to start or expand a small business. Since its founding in 2005, Kiva has facilitated over $1 billion in loans worldwide.

Jackley published her first book, “CLAY WATER BRICK: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least,” in June 2015 and features lessons learned from successful businesses in the poorest countries.

Huffington Post founder and author Arianna Huffington wrote, “‘CLAY WATER BRICK’ is the inspiring story of Jackley’s own far-flung journeys as an entrepreneur, but it’s also a blueprint for anyone who wants to make the world a better place and find fulfillment in the process, no matter how scarce their resources or how steep the challenge.”

Hannah Storm will be the guest speaker at the 3 p.m. commencement ceremony.

Sgt. First Class Aaron Beckman, 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command, explains the Warrior Challenge -- a Soldier-skills competition -- to ESPN anchors Hannah Storm and Josh Elliot during ESPN Sportscenter's live Veterans Day broadcast from Grafenwoehr, Germany, Nov. 11, 2010.

Storm is an award-winning journalist, producer, director, a pioneer in the field of sports broadcasting for women, a published author and an advocate for children with vascular birthmarks.

Storm joined ESPN in 2008, where she has co-hosted “SportsCenter,” and hosted and produced ESPN’s prime-time interview specials, “In Focus with Hannah Storm” and “Face to Face with Hannah Storm.”

Storm also has hosted the broadcasts of events around the world such as Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the New York Marathon, the Super Bowl, the Rose Parade on ABC and the ESPY Awards. Throughout her extensive career Storm has interviewed former president Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush and Laura Bush, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Tiger Woods and many others.

In 2008, Storm founded the Hannah Storm Foundation, which advocates for children suffering from vascular birthmarks. According to the Hannah Storm Foundation, “Storm’s passion for the cause stems from her personal experience with it: Storm was born with a port wine stain underneath her left eye.” Since its founding, the Hannah Storm Foundation has provided funding for critical surgeries to children all around the world who otherwise could not afford treatment. The Foundation also funds the Hannah Storm Journalism internship at Notre Dame, her alma mater, encouraging the next generation to pursue their passions in journalism and broadcasting.

In addition to announcing the two guest speakers, the University of Portland has also announced the honorary doctorate recipients, among whom is Darlene V. Shiley, wife of the late Donald P. Shiley.

Donald P. Shiley (‘51) was the co-inventor of an artificial heart valve that “revolutionized heart surgery” according to the Los Angeles Times. His wife Darlene Shiley is the president of the Shiley Foundation, a member of the University of Portland’s Board of Regents, and a passionate patron of the arts, medical research and education. In 2007, together they made a donation in support of the renovation of the Donald P. Shiley Engineering Hall at the University of Portland and made a subsequent gift to endow the School of Engineering, now known as the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering, in her husband’s memory.

More information about the ceremony, including other honorary doctorate recipients, can be found on here.

Danny Politoski is a news reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @dpolitoski