McConnell Scholar Natasha Mundkur will join a distinguished group of speakers, including former president Bill Clinton, King Abdullah of Jordan and actor Billy Crystal, in honoring the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali at the public memorial service Friday, June 10, in Louisville.
Mundkur, who also serves on the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students, says the opportunity to be a part of Ali’s tribute is an honor and truly humbling experience.
“Every time I sit down to write something for Friday, I know that whatever I say it feels like it will never do justice to what he has meant to my life and the lives of millions of people in every corner of the world,” Mundkur said. “Speaking at this event is the culmination of a life’s dream.”
Even though Mundkur wasn’t born by the time Ali last entered the boxing ring (December 1981), that didn’t stop “The Greatest” from influencing her life when she was a little girl living in rural Virginia.
“Muhammad Ali has been my inspiration since I was 8 years old,” Mundkur said. “Growing up in a little country town, you don’t see a lot of people looking to be a part of your life because you are so different. It took an inspiration like Muhammad Ali – and his words about equality and looking at others as human beings first – to help take me to another level. It took me to be a McConnell Scholar and a member of the Ali Council of Students. That sort of impact cannot be described in words.”
Mundkur is a 2015 graduate of duPont Manual High School. She is a business and political science major at UofL, with a minor in women’s and gender studies. She is one of 11 McConnell Scholars who are expected to graduate in 2019.