Bernard Lagat Honored With WSU Alumni Achievement Award

Dec. 12, 2007


Bernard Lagat: A Cougar

Three-time World Champion and two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat was honored and celebrated for his accomplishments by his alma mater, Washington State University, Sunday, Dec. 9, at Beasley Coliseum, as part of the Cougar women's and men's basketball doubleheader that day.

At halftime of the men's basketball game versus Portland State, Lagat was awarded the prestigious WSU Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award; in addition, Lagat was honored by Pullman mayor Glenn Johnson, who declared in a city proclamation that Dec. 9, 2007 be known as 'Bernard Lagat Day.'

Lagat became the first athlete to win both the 1500m and the 5000m races at the 2007 World Championships last summer in Osaka, Japan. At the 2007 USA Outdoor Track & Field championships he won the 5000m race and placed third in the 1500m race but had already piled up a plethora of wins in 2007, including the 5000m at the USA Outdoor Championships, the mile at the prestigious Millrose Indoor Games and the 3000m at the Birmingham Indoor.

Originally from Kapsabet, Kenya, Lagat competed at Washington State in the late 1990s and earned All-America status 11 times (twice in cross country and nine times in track and field) while wearing a Cougar uniform. He was also accomplished in the classroom earning bachelor's degrees in Management Information Systems (2000), and Decision Science/Econometrics (2001).

Married to another WSU graduate, Gladys Tom, the Lagats have a son, Miika, who is nearly two-years old, and the family lives in Tucson, Arizona. Lagat became a U.S. citizen March 29, 2005, and then had to wait until this year to compete for the United States due to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) three-year waiting period between international competitions. He last raced for his native Kenya, Aug. 25, 2004, and became eligible to compete for the United States Aug. 25, 2007, the day of the beginning of the 2007 World Outdoor Championships in Osaka, Japan.

WHEREAS, Bernard Lagat, who earned a degree in management information systems in 2001, is arguably Washington State University's most famous international alum; and,
WHEREAS, while at WSU, Bernard was one of the nation's finest middle-distance collegiate runners, combining his natural talents with competitive poise; and,
WHEREAS, a two-time Olympic medalist for his native Kenya, Bernard became a U.S. citizen in 2004; and,
WHEREAS, Bernard's skill and dedication led him to become a World Outdoor Champion with an historic 1500m/5000m double win at the September 2007 International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships at Osaka, Japan.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that I, Glenn A. Johnson, Mayor of Pullman, declare December 9, 2007, to be
and I, along with all Pullman residents, recognize Bernard's achievements and wish him well as we follow his training for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

Alumni Achievement Award Inscription

Bernard Lagat '01

In recognition of your tremendous accomplishments as an NCAA All-American, World Champion, and for your well-earned title of 'the fastest-man on Earth,' the Washington State University Alumni Association bestows upon you its highest honor. You are a celebrated role model for athletes of all ages, an inspiration for Cougars everywhere, and a contributor to the University's world-class reputation. As an internationally-acclaimed athlete, your achievements and dedication to excellence have brought great distinction to your alma mater, the WSU Athletic Department, and to thousands of past, present, and future WSU student-athletes.

Given in Pullman, Washington, this Ninth Day of December Two Thousand and Seven

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