Motivational speaker Xerxes Whitney to speak at WWU May 20

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 10:22am

A motivational speaker, Xerxes Whitney will present “Busting Through Your Challenges: Don’t Fight it. Embrace It” at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 20 in Miller Hall room 138 on Western Washington University’s campus.

The presentation is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by Western’s Physical Education, Health and Recreational Department; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Woodring College of Education.

An athlete, poet, teacher, and coach, Whitney is a motivational speaker who brings his relevant message to a variety of fields including recreation, special education, and physical education.

Born with cerebral palsy, he has transformed his impairment into strengths and accomplishments, inspiring others to take their lives to new heights.

Whitney graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a manager, player, and assistant coach on the school’s tennis team that finished second in NCAA Division III four times.

He discovered his public-speaking skills when he was chosen to give his university graduation commencement speech. Recently, Whitney was the keynote speaker for the 2013 National Adapted Physical Education conference.

Whitney has taught sixth-grade Physical Education at Windsor Middle School in Windsor, Calif. for 13 years. He was named Teacher of the Year in 2009 by the California League of Middle Schools and was also named the Windsor Rotary Teacher of the Year.

He started the girls’ and boys’ tennis teams at Windsor High and has led the girls’ team to two Sonoma County League Championships, coached the boys to a league title, and has been named Sonoma League Coach of the Year.

Whitney has run five marathons, finishing in the top 40 percent of all runners despite his impairment. One marathon enabled him to raise funds for a rock-climbing wall at Windsor Middle School, an accomplishment that was featured on the local ABC News.

Whitney has self-published two books of poetry, “What’s Your Name?” in 1999 and “Busting Through, Exploring My Truth” in 2007.

Testimonials about Whitney’s speeches can be viewed at

For more information, please contact Keith Russell at (360) 650-3529, or