Elin Nordegren is best known as a model and the former wife of superstar golfer Tiger Woods, but she recently made her presence felt in higher education by completing her schooling at Rollins College.
A unique opportunity arose as Nordegren graced the podium in Winter Park, Florida, as a member of the Class of 2014, when she was asked to deliver a commencement speech after receiving the Hamilton Holt Outstanding Senior Award.
Nordegren didn't dance around the topic of her high-profile divorce during her speech, implying that school kept her focused and goal-oriented, while offering stability amid turbulent circumstances. Jenny Depper of Yahoo Sports reported some of the speech's highlights:
I've been called a woman of few words and criticized by the media for not talking very much. A commencement speech is meant to inspire. And when I started to think what I should say to you all today, I got a little scared. What words could I use to inspire us all after a long journey in college? ...
... In the fall of 2005, I was 25 years old. I had just recently moved to America. I was married without children. Today, nine years later, I am a proud American and I have two beautiful children. But I am no longer married. ...
... Education has been the only consistent part of my life the last nine years. And it has offered me comfort. Education is one thing that no one can take away from you.
NBC News' Mark Potter noted how Nordegren would be appearing on the Today show Monday:
Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods' ex-wife, graduates with honors and gives the commencement speech, joking about the past. Coming up @TODAYshow— Mark Potter (@MarkPotterNBC) May 12, 2014
"The former model may have stayed silent in the past, but if we can learn anything from her graduation speech about life, it is that it's all about who gets the last laugh," says Depper.
Nordegren, 34, hinted that she has stayed mum on the subject of her divorce with Woods, but noted how she struggled with all the attention in the media when the divorce was happening in 2010.
Woods admitted to infidelity in late 2009 and took an extended hiatus from golf in an effort to save his marriage and work on his family issues, but that ultimately didn't result in him staying with his ex-wife. Since news of the scandal broke, the prolific golfer has not won a major title, with his last coming at the 2008 U.S. Open.
The previously married couple have two children: a daughter, Sam, who is six years old, and a son, Charlie, who is five.
It is encouraging that college has given Nordegren, who graduated Rollins with a 3.96 GPA and degree in psychology, a means of bettering herself following a period of intense media scrutiny. Her accomplishments are a testament to her strength amid adverse circumstances.