Via an alumni newsletter I learned today that Hank Aaron will be the commencement speaker at Marquette University on May 20. Aaron is a wonderful choice for the Milwaukee campus, which this time of year is preoccupied with basketball.
Aaron spent much of his Hall-of-Fame career in Milwaukee with the Braves and even returned there for the Brewers in his last two playing seasons.
Here’s a quote from Marquette’s president in a mid-February news release:
“Mr. Aaron is a superb role model for our graduates, someone we are proud to present as an illustration of the principles of leadership and excellence that Marquette exemplifies,” said Father Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Marquette University president. “While his contributions to baseball are unparalleled, more importantly, his work on behalf of racial equality and civil rights continue to help youth achieve their dreams.”
I had the great pleasure of being in a relatively small audience of newspaper editors to whom Aaron spoke in Miller Park a few months ahead of its opening in 2001. Although I can’t recall the details of what Aaron said, he impressed me with his sincerity and intensity as he recalled his career and the challenges he faced on and off the field.
Good for you, Hank Aaron, and ring out a hoya and an MU rah-rah for old Marquete.