Former Rutgers Football Player Eric LeGrand To Speak At Commencement After All [Update]
Update: According to ESPN, LeGrand will indeed get a chance to speak to the Rutgers graduates as well as personally recieve his diploma bfrom Rutgers president Robert Barchi.
“Eric LeGrand will speak at our commencement and personally receive his degree from me as a representative of the Class of 2014,”
LeGrand was originally set to speak in the wake of Condoleezza Rice rescinding her commitment to speak at Rutgers graduation due to protests. The university offered the opportunity to one of its biggest inspirations Eric LeGrand a chance to give the 2014 class some words of wisdom.
He spoke to USA Today about what he planned to talk about.
“I was just going to tell them my story, about the whole process. Starting in 2005, being recruited by Rutgers and what it meant to me to play here and go to school here. And then the way everybody supported me through my injury, I was just going to give inspirational words about how they should attack life.”
“All the things I’ve learned so far. All the (graduates), they’re my age so I was going to try to (say) words they could remember, words that would inspire them to do great things in life.”
Instead, Rutgers decided to go another way, and allow former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean to speak to the students.
LeGrand went on his Twitter to comment on the university’s decision.
Rutgers offered me the commencement speech this weekend and I was going to accept but they decided to go other ways for political reasons
— Eric LeGrand (@EricLeGrand52) May 6, 2014
“Saturday I get a call from Greg Jackson and they offered me the job to give the commencement speech. I was like, ‘Wow, thanks for the opportunity,’ and he said, ‘Let’s touch base Monday and talk about it.’ So I was telling my friends and my family, everybody was so excited.”
In my opinion, Rutgers did the students an injustice here. I understand the reasoning in protesting Rice, but she is an accomplished woman stuck in between a pretty bad period in our nation in which I call the Bush years.
Having LeGrand as a backup could have been genius. He’s not a politician, he’s not going to be someone who was paid a large sum of money to speak on some things that probably won’t move you.
What he WILL do is inspire each and every student getting ready to collect their diploma. LeGrand is the true example of a person who took his circumstances and used it to help other people. He could have spoke to the students on a personal level, in a way of understanding none of these politicians could ever do.
Yet, like usual, my alma mater dropped the ball on that chance.
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