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Meet and Greet Allan Houston Before Commencement

Almost 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 times.

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 Initiative.

Western President James W. Schmotter noted that President’s Club funding supports the university’s selection of an appropriate commencement speaker.

“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.”


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