On Sunday, Russell Wilson was the recipient of an honorary degree from Dartmouth College. Philip J. Hanlon, the president of the New Hampshire institution, said that the Denver Broncos quarterback was being recognized for several reasons:
“For your poise, leadership and sportsmanship, both on and off the field, for your commitment to improving the lives of others and for your belief in the power of positivity and helping people reach their full potential, Dartmouth is proud to award you the honorary degree of doctor of humane letters,” Hanlon stated before Wilson graced the stage.
The athlete’s late father attended the college as well as his three uncles. Wilson’s speech reflected on this history during his address.
“Standing here at my father’s alma mater, looking out over this place that helped him become the man he was, it’s impossible not to think about his legacy. And living with legacy is what I want to talk to you about today. Now, legacy might seem like a strange topic for a commencement speech because, I mean, this is your beginning. You’re just starting out. But, graduates, if there’s one thing I hope to accomplish today, it’s to challenge you not to wait to think about your legacy and what that will be. Because legacy isn’t just something you leave behind. It’s something you build, something you add to every day. My dad, he didn’t get as many days as he deserved. I miss him so much. But because he lived with legacy, he’s never really gone. I hear his voice all the time.”
Wilson ended his speech on a strong note. “Class of 2022, I have a theory that we’re all born with gifts, with skills, but we’re not always born with dreams. We need someone to plant that seed, light that spark. And my dad’s way of lighting that spark was a simple three-word question: why not you?”
We love to see Russ—who joked about being Mr. Ciara during his speech—making his family proud.