From Gridiron to Graduation

Uploaded by univoflouisville on 16.12.2011

Joe on behalf of the faculty, we would, uh, like to present
to you the Legends award, recognizing your personal and professional
achievements and presenting both the University of Louisville, yourself,
and family, and, uh, the Redskins, we’d also want to
recognize why we’re here today, your academic accomplishments
and then we also want to recognize you’re an inspiration based on
the persistence you’ve demonstrated in achieving your degree.
With that comes a responsibility to continue to, uh, model
that for others, we have high hopes and greater expectations for your
future rather than your past, and want to recognize you for that today.
Thank you, I don’t want to bend down. I need a few moments,
I didn’t expect this, uh, well, it’s my honor to be here,
my honor is after 30+ years to finally accomplish what a young man
should’ve done his first go around,
lot of people to thank along this journey, one, I thank the people here at the
university, President Ramsey, the Workforce Leadership program,
I couldn’t speak enough thanks for this opportunity to finish with this
degree and to work with your great staff, of great people on down from
Ron Burgman, who took numerous phone calls from me,
like everybody else, wondering if I could do this.
30 years ago we we’re in buildings like this, to do it all online,
to get your degree over the last two years and to learn the technology.
Now you can teach an old dog new tricks, so, it does work and thank
you Matt for those phone calls and figuring things out, what programs
to get into, the classes, Susan Hildebrand, thank you for your patience and
understanding to work through this, and for the past couple weeks til graduation,
Cindy Hess for dealing with all the communication issues and all
the professors who deal with, I thank you, a couple that
was in here earlier, in other classes that I’ve had through this,
and you look at why now, why do this after you look at that film,
uh, you see your life, see what you’ve accomplished, well
the accomplishments are not done, those chapters in a book,
that I was fortunate to live, the good Lord has lead me along that path.
They end up in a national football league from a guy who
came from the University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, got drafted
to play 13 years in a national football league with many great memories
of that to meet my wife up there in Washington D.C.
This coming March will be our 27th wedding anniversary.
Uh, and, most of all those others, the ones you saw in
the pictures like this and now they’re almost as tall as their dad.
The reason why I am here today, to get his degree,
one of the reasons, the other part over there is the one you see me coach.
My wife and I were very adamant when raising our girls about education.
Well, the oldest Lauren received her degree this past May from
the University of Miami, she’s onto post-graduate work, Nursing
Practitioner, she goes to the George Washington University now.
My youngest daughter Jenna is a junior at Colgate University
studying International studies with a Middle East minor in Politics and Conflict.
I said she’s got the conflict right, that’s what she’s been.
But now to see what they have done with their lives and
what we have preached and raised them to be like,
I did not have that, like Dustin said earlier, in my family,
it wasn’t something that was talked about, of finishing
of going to college and getting your degree.
You get your high school diploma and get out and get a job.
Well I had the opportunity because of my athletic abilities God blessed me with.
I did not take advantage of it then but now I did.
And that second part of the reason why I got my degree,
coaching these young men now after selling my business and moving
it to this field because this is what I want to do, change
the lives of young men.
That’s hard to do and hard to tell them to do it
if you haven’t done it yourself.
I had to back up the talk with the walk.
Was it easy? No.
Between, running a coaching schedule that 12, 14, 16 hour days
and trying to get your online work done
and your reading and your assignments,
it got accomplished but the valuable lesson,
which we’ve heard from our other speakers, is what we bring to it,
our life experiences, are highlighted and brought out of us in these classes that we take,
I mean, some of the things I’ve done in the last 30 years
are all brought up to me going through these classes,
like running a business, I was running a car business,
I had 50+ employees and there's a chart involved in that, there's scheduling,
there’s leadership, there’s all the things that I took in this class
but it brought it back to me again and re-emphasizes
that they have a point learning it the second time around,
so that was a blessing to me to have that,
and to get that done and with being here in this planetarium
and what we’ve seen here finishing up here with this
talk and the benefits of doing this, you’re not too old,
we’re never too old to stop learning.
As you see we all go through life and we learn as we go along
with our kids, we learn as our businesses, we’re always learning,
we’re always opening up something to read, to gain knowledge from,
to gain an understanding from, well that’s opening up this diploma.
You know somebody asked me this morning that’s done things
that’s talked to people, you saw those rings, I have them,
but don’t worry they won’t leave my sight, you know,
but people talk about how these are great things, yeah,
they are great things, these are teams though,
these are team individual things, team, team, great members, a lot of them
work a lot of effort, a lot of educational aspects went in to that,
of us working as a unit, a team, so many guys together.
Well this diploma, there were other people involved in it,
in your life who encourage you to get there and do that,
but you get to do it as an individual.
I look at this diploma I’m getting, this Bachelor of
Science for The Workforce Leadership, that is a key to unlock everything
else out in front of you, the opportunities.
Where I go I don’t know, I’m thinking of a lot of things,
and the life’s just beginning, the second phase of it, and
I’m enjoying it and this just gives me another opportunity, as we all know,
apply, applying for a job even a coaching job, you’re gonna have your degree,
you’re gonna have a bachelor degree.
I want to move on, I want to move up,
I want to get to the biggest level, that’s the competitive nature that for 25+ years
on the football field, I did it, my business for 15 years.
We’re all competitive, we all want to get better,
and education is a way of getting better.
The diploma is the key, ironic we’re here in the planetarium today,
as the saying goes reach for the stars, well we need to reach for stars,
and grab hold and take your opportunity.
What opportunities that are there it's Workforce Leadership Program.
I’m glad it was there for me. Marvin Mitchell, thank you. Martina, thank you.
The Athletic Department here, thank you, for pointing me in the right direction,
to make the people in the Workforce Leadership Program, to finish the task at hand.
These are great, these are wonderful, these are memories
of good times of another chapter in my life,
don’t get me wrong, they are precious, but not as precious
as that degree, tomorrow night, that we’ve earned
that unlocks a multitude of opportunities.
Once again, I want to thank, the Workforce Leadership team,
thank you for everything, thank you for the award, it’s unexpected,
I appreciate it, thank you Susan, Matt, Cindy, Marvin, Martina,
everybody involved with the fusses of this awards event it unlocks
this opportunity and I can’t wait for the next class. Thank you.