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2011 Founders' Day Honoree Jason Pipoly '90

Founders’ Day Honoree: Jason Pipoly ‘90
Friday, September 30, 2011, 11:15 a.m.
Louisa Performing Arts Center

As a start to Homecoming Weekend festivities, Jason Pipoly ‘90 will be honored for espousing the values of our Founders. Pipoly will take the time to give an inspirational message for students and parents during the Founders’ Day ceremony.

Jason R. Pipoly was born in 1971 in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1980 Jason’s father, Carl Pipoly, swam the English Channel in 15 hours. While in England Jason learned about the history involved with swimming the English Channel and decided to try to become the youngest person ever to swim the Channel. In 1982 at the age of 11, Jason lasted 8 ½ hours, swimming 17 miles before having to be pulled out due to fatigue and hypothermia. The effort earned Jason a trip onto the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. While on the Tonight Show, Jason vowed to go back and try again.

In 1990, Jason graduated from The Colorado Springs School which changed his life, giving him a firm foundation for the future. Jason earned a Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts in 1995 from the University of Colorado. In 1998 while driving in the mountains in the winter, Jason was in a single car accident and became a T8 paraplegic. Soon after the accident, Jason’s mother, Mary Biggins, pulled out the old tape of the Tonight Show, and Jason watched as he vowed to Johnny Carson to go back and try to swim the Channel again. In 2002, Jason became the second paraplegic in the world to swim the Channel. In 2003, Jason became the first paraplegic to swim the Catalina Channel in 18 hours, swimming over 22 miles. In 2004, Jason joined In Flight Dance Company where he performed all over San Antonio and, most importantly, is where he meet his wife, Vanessa Vance Pipoly. Jason, with film maker Hans Rosenwinkle, is producing a documentary about his life and swimming accomplishments. Jason is also working on a book about his adventures.

Jason also plans to participate in the Fun Run on Friday, September 30 at 12:10 p.m. and the Alumni Office will host a tailgate prior to the Saturday, October 1, Boys’ Soccer game at 11:00 a.m. on Boddington Field.