Northwestern University announced in March that equal rights advocate Billie Jean King would give the 159th commencement speech. Now, the global sports icon will also receive an honorary degree from the university Friday.
King has been an advocate for equality, especially in the areas of gender equality and LGBTQ rights. She founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and continues to serve on the board. King was named on of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine. Former President Barrack Obama awarded King with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, making her the first female athlete to receive the accolade.
King played professional tennis for more than two decades. She’s become one of the most decorated tennis players to date after winning 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles. She has also won a record 20 championships at Wimbledon.