From athlete to advocate: Berkeley graduate gives newcomers a sporting chance

May 17, 2023

Benjamin Coleman has always loved being on a team.

The UC Berkeley senior, one of more than 10,000 graduating students walking in Saturday’s commencement ceremony, grew up in Calgary, Canada. At age 5, he joined his first hockey team, the Glenlake Hawks. He played with the same teammates until he graduated from high school. Although he played a lot of other sports growing up — badminton, soccer, skiing, swimming — hockey was his favorite.

“It was just a really amazing, close-knit community there that I think played a big part in my love of hockey,” he said. “It’s really special to be bonded with a group of people working together toward a common goal.”

He played goalie, like his dad, who often coached his son’s teams. “When you’re there in the goal, you’re on an island, and it’s up to you,” said Coleman. “It’s an incredible thrill, and it distracts your mind from everything else that’s going on.”

As a kid, he also loved reading. He couldn’t get enough of it. “I’d be getting a haircut, and I’d be reading a book. Or I’d be at the dinner table, and I’d be reading a book.” He blazed through the entire Harry Potter series six or seven times. “I credit my mom and great-grandmother for fostering my love of reading, fostering my love of the arts, of writing.”

Read more about Benjamin Coleman, a triple major in English, political science, and legal studies, with a minor in journalism below >

Berkeley News