Baseball great Hank Aaron will be Marquette University’s Commencement speaker at this year’s spring ceremony. As part of the ceremony, Aaron will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.
“Mr. Aaron is a superb role model for our graduates, someone we are proud to present as an illustration of the principles of leadership and excellence that Marquette exemplifies,” said Father Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., Marquette University president. “While his contributions to baseball are unparalleled, more importantly, his work on behalf of racial equality and civil rights continue to help youth achieve their dreams.”
Aaron played as an outfielder for the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers from 1954-1976 and holds many of baseball’s most distinguished records. In 1976, Hank Aaron hit his 755th and final home run at Milwaukee County Stadium, having broken Babe Ruth’s home run record two years before.
Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and was named the Atlanta Braves’ vice president and director of player development, making him one of the first minority executives in Major League Baseball.
In 1999, Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award, which honors the best overall offensive performer in the American and National Leagues. That same year he ranked fifth on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
In addition to Aaron’s contributions to baseball, he has worked on behalf of racial equality, civil rights and helping others through his Chasing the Dream Foundation, which helps underprivileged children.
Marquette will also award Sister Mary Miguel Conway, BVM, with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Sister Miguel is Co-Director of the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, Ecuador. The Working Boys’ Center serves over 400 families of working children annually at three locations in Quito. A graduate of Clarke College in Dubuque IA, Miguel spent 11 years teaching high school before being assigned to work at WBC in 1967. Madre Miguel, as she is called, is responsible for the creation of many family development activities at the WBC.
Marquette’s 131st Commencement ceremony will be held at the Bradley Center Sunday, May 20, 2012.