May 31, 2013
UCLA Gymnastics Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field has been chosen as the 2013 UCLA Department of History Commencement Speaker. The Commencement Celebration will take place on Sunday, June 16 at 9 am on Dickson Plaza.
"I am extremely honored to be asked to give the UCLA History Commencement address," Kondos Field said. "I enjoyed and appreciated every moment of my education at UCLA and am still in contact with my favorite history professor, Prof. Chambers. Whenever one of our student-athletes is at a loss for an area of study in which to major, I often offer the suggestion of majoring in History. The areas of study and the practice of writing comprehensive and grammatically correct exams have proven invaluable in my career."
A 1987 UCLA graduate in history, Kondos Field has been head coach of the Bruins since 1991 and has led her teams to six NCAA team championships, 16 NCAA Regional titles and 12 conference titles in her 23 years. She has been voted the national and conference coach of the year four times each, and in 2010, she became just the second active coach ever to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
Kondos Field's coaching philosophy stresses balance and integrity. Her teams are regularly represented on the conference all-academic teams and scholastic all-American squads and contend each year for UCLA's team GPA award. Her student-athletes have also found individual success, winning 25 NCAA individual titles during her tenure as head coach.
A former professional ballet dancer, Kondos Field initially got her start in gymnastics by playing the piano for floor exercise music. She then became a dance coach and learned the fundamentals of the sport. In 1983, she was hired at UCLA to be an assistant coach/choreographer by UCLA coach Jerry Tomlinson. Together they put UCLA Gymnastics on the map with distinctive choreography and flair. As head coach, Kondos Field took the program to the next level, guiding the Bruins to their first NCAA title in 1997.