Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.: Introduction of Jerome Bettis

Author: Notre Dame News

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

It is now my job to give you a charge, but I am going to ask for help in this regard. I am going to ask someone who is the oldest—or, should I say—the most mature member of the baccalaureate class of 2022.

He was perhaps the best ever to play his position on the Notre Dame football team, and went on to become an All-Pro player, a Super Bowl champion and a member of the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.

His early life was not so easy--as a youth in Detroit, he and his brother made ends meet by selling crack cocaine and he remembers being involved in gun battles on the streets.  But he has gone on to found a charity, the Bus Stops Here Foundation, that provides inner-city youth with opportunities and resources to help them become healthy, confident, and productive members of society.

After his football career, he established several highly successful businesses, and currently hosts a television show and often serves as a television commentator.

Those are all remarkable accomplishments, but they are not the reason I’ve asked him to speak.

I’ve asked him to speak because, after all those remarkable accomplishments, he returned to Notre Dame to complete his degree simply to give young people an example of the value of education.

As we celebrate your educational accomplishments, this person is an example to us and everyone about the value of education.

Class of 2022, I give you your classmate, Jerome Bettis.