Beth Cavanaugh 301-405-4625
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Cal Ripken, Jr., one of the greatest baseball players of all time and a Maryland legend, will deliver the University of Maryland commencement address on May 19, 2013. Ripken, who played professional baseball for 21 years and founded Ripken Baseball, Inc. and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, will address the more than 7,000 graduates and thousands of family and friends at the spring ceremony.
“I want to thank the University of Maryland for this tremendous honor. As a Marylander I am excited and very much look forward to delivering this speech to the graduating students,” said Cal Ripken, Jr. “I hope that my life experience allows me to impart some wisdom and give them a message that will serve them as they start their careers. While I never attended college, opting to pursue my baseball career after high school, I have great respect for higher education and the great value it brings to young people.”
“Commencement is a time to recognize and honor the many outstanding achievements of our students during their time at Maryland,” said President Wallace Loh. “Throughout his career, Cal Ripken, Jr. has shown himself to be a natural educator, an extraordinary athlete, and a generous philanthropist who has exhibited dedication and heart in all that he has accomplished. His participation in our Commencement ceremony will be an inspiration to our graduates and their families.”
"On behalf of the graduating class, I am honored and privileged to welcome Mr. Ripken as our featured speaker,” said graduating senior Stephanie Barcomb, co-chair of the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee. “Through his legendary baseball career, entrepreneurial endeavors, and philanthropy, Mr. Ripken has proven to be a true leader and inspirational role model.”
“He is a local hero and has had an accomplished career both on and off the field,” said graduating senior Alysia Cutchis, co-chair of the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee. “Many Maryland students and alumni grew up idolizing Mr. Ripken’s talents, hard work and determination. To hear him address the graduating class will be a once in a lifetime experience.”
About Cal Ripken, Jr.
Born and raised in Maryland, Ripken played both shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles for more than two decades – breaking many records along the way. In 1995, Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s Major League record for consecutive games played – voluntarily ending the streak in 1998 with 2,632 consecutive games. Ripken, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, is one of only eight players in history to achieve 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.
Since his retirement from the sport in 2001, Ripken is using his skills, experience and passion for baseball to help grow the game at the grassroots level through his organization, Ripken Baseball.
In 2007, Ripken was named as a Special Public Diplomacy Envoy to the U.S. State Department. In this role he travels the world using baseball as a tool to spread goodwill. He has traveled to China, Nicaragua, and most recently to Japan, where he and former teammate Brady Anderson spent time with the children impacted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated much of the country.
Ripken has always placed a strong focus on giving back to the community. In 2001, he and his family established the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in memory of Ripken’s father. The foundation uses baseball themed programs to make a positive impact on young people in our countries most challenged areas.
Ripken is also a best-selling author and a popular public speaker.
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