as soon as one class graduates in May, administrators being to
ponder who should give the next year’s commencement address.
Qualifications include someone who is well known to young scholars,
who might bring some positive media attention to the university, and
who can tell an inspiring story.
This year, former basketball player Allan Houston, a star with the
New York Knicks, will address students on Sunday, May 22. And for
the first time, members of the President’s Club are invited to
participate in a unique way.
Before Houston gives his keynote talk, he will host a breakfast
with President’s Club members in the Westside Campus Center, where
he will discuss strategy, answer questions (he is the Knicks’
assistant general manager), sign autographs and pose for photos.
Houston was a two-time NBA All-Star and he is ranked No. 11 in
career three-point shots. He was a member of the U.S. men’s national
basketball team that won the gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics
and he was named one of the Sporting News’ “Good Guys n Sports” four
Houston’s value as a commencement speaker is enhanced by his
leadership off the court as well.
He created the Legacy Foundation, which focuses on building strong
families, developing entrepreneurial skills, and encouraging
education and spiritual growth. Because of his work, Houston was
named 2007 “Father of the Year” by the National Fatherhood
Western President James W. Schmotter noted that President’s Club
funding supports the university’s selection of an appropriate
“Commencement is the most important celebration on campus each
year,” Schmotter said. “We bring 5,000 people to our Westside
athletic facility to pay tribute to our graduates. I believe Allen
Houston will deliver an appropriate and significant message — and
the members of the President’s Club help us do that.”