The Boston Globe: David Ortiz speaks to Regis College graduates, including his daughter
WBZ-TV, Boston: David Ortiz receives honorary degree from Regis College
Boston Herald: Side Track: David Ortiz, Jon Hamm ... and more
New England Sports Network: Watch David Ortiz receive ovation after Regis College commencement speech
WBZ News Radio: Regis College gives honorary degree to David Ortiz
More than 900 students graduated from Regis College on Saturday at the Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion in Boston with degrees ranging from associate to doctoral levels. The 89th commencement ceremony included graduates from the university’s new dental hygiene program taken over from Mount Ida College, and for the first time, close to 70 students received master’s degrees from Regis’ new fully online nursing and health administration programs. The university presented Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz and Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera with honorary doctorates of law.
In an emotional address to graduates, Ortiz highlighted the importance of family, education and confidence.
“My parents always wanted me to be as educated as possible. They knew that if my baseball career didn’t work out, that I would have something to fall back on,” said Ortiz, who was overcome with emotion as he recognized his father in the audience. “Every time I stepped up to the plate I was confident in myself because I was smart, I was prepared, I worked hard and I had the support of my family and friends.”
“You don’t need to be able to hit a 95 mile-per-hour fastball, because you have all the slugging power that you need right there in your mind,” Ortiz told graduates. “I am very impressed and proud of each and every one of you for being here today. You have all the tools you need to be successful. Hard work and preparation were the most important to me in my career. There are not successful people in this world who do not work hard every day or who do not prepare every day to overcome challenges.”
“David may be known for his heroics on the baseball diamond, but his steadfast commitment to improving the lives of children suffering with severe, critical cardiac conditions in the Dominican Republic and New England are life-saving,” said Regis College President Antoinette Hays, PhD, RN. “We are honored to have David as a distinguished member of our alumni community.”
The university also honored Dan Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence. Rivera first served as a city councilor and was elected mayor in 2013 where he has worked to make city services more responsive, more transparent and financially healthy. His strong leadership remains critical to the continued relief efforts of the city after the Columbia Gas explosions that rocked the Merrimack Valley last summer. As a member of the Board of Trustees for Northern Essex Community College (NECC), Mayor Rivera is committed to bringing higher education opportunities to the citizens of Lawrence and the entire Merrimack Valley. He has been an ardent supporter of Regis North, which offers a bachelor’s completion program in Lawrence as well as an accelerated nursing degree.
“I will tell you this one thing that has been crucial in my life, that’s my embracing of my failures,” said Mayor Rivera. “I have made many failures in my life, and every one of them have made me a better soldier, a better marketing professional, a better husband and a better father. They have trained me to be a strong mayor for my community in the darkest hours. You have to strike out a lot to hit a lot of home runs.”
“Mayor Rivera’s stalwart leadership is an inspiration to his city and to all of those who face adversity,” said President Hays. “His story of being a first-generation American college graduate and his commitment to education is reflective of many of our students’ experiences.”
Ortiz, affectionately known as Big Papi, has established himself as one of the most prolific hitters of the last decade while becoming a fan favorite on and off the field. His heroics in ending the Red Sox World Series curse in 2004 and record-breaking MVP performance in the 2013 World Series have earned him legendary status as one of Boston’s greatest sports heroes. A 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series Champion, Ortiz holds the all-time record for most hits and home runs by a designated hitter and became the 27th player in baseball history to join the 500 Home Run Club.
Ortiz’s tremendous reputation extends off the field through the David Ortiz Children’s Fund. Today, through outreach, education and support for medical care, the fund is committed to enhancing the health and well-being of children who require life-saving heart operations. In recognition of his charitable work, David received the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award, one of baseball’s most prestigious honors. He now stars on FOX as an analyst to cover the MLB Playoffs.