Billie Jean King to speak Friday at Northwestern University

Aug. 29, 2016 file photo of Billie Jean King during the opening ceremony during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

Tennis great and equal rights advocate Billie Jean King will speak and receive an honorary degree at Northwestern University's commencement ceremony.

King is scheduled to deliver the main address during Friday's ceremony at Ryan Field in Evanston.

King's tennis career featured 39 Grand Slam titles, including 20 Wimbledon championships.

Sports Illustrated named her the magazine's Sportsperson of the Year in 1972, and in 2009 President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Obama said the award honored King's off-the-court actions, which included advocating for gender equity and gay rights.

King was in the first class inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, and is a founding member of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and the Women's Sports Foundation.

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educationgraduationnorthwestern universityu.s. & worldtennisEvanston
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