| George Foreman Addresses Graduates at 2010 Commencement Ceremony |
Former world heavyweight boxing champion and businessman George Foreman addressed the University of St. Thomas 2010 graduating class about “Success with Integrity,” at the 60th Commencement Ceremony, held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15 at Reliant Arena, located at One Reliant Park. The ceremony celebrated the achievements of 305 undergraduates and 320 graduate students. Commencement was preceded by a Baccalaureate Mass held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 14 at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 Saint Joseph Pkwy. The Mass was followed by a reception held on the UST campus.
A charismatic personality in the world of boxing, a minister, entrepreneur, husband, father of ten, and rancher, Foreman was born in Marshall, and grew up in Houston. He learned to box in a U.S. Job Corps camp in California. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, he won the gold medal in the heavyweight boxing competition. Foreman first captured the professional heavyweight belt by knocking out Joe Frazier at Kingston, Jamaica, on January 22, 1973. He had won all 40 of his professional bouts, including a sequence of 24 consecutive knockouts, when he fell to Muhammad Ali in eight rounds in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Congo), on October 30, 1974. He retired from the ring in 1977. He was ordained a minister and began preaching in Houston. In 1984, he founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Center in Houston. In 1994, Foreman became, at 44, the oldest fighter ever to win the heavyweight crown. When not promoting Meineke mufflers or selling Lean Mean Grilling Machines, Foreman tends to his ministry and charitable work, including most recently his “Knock-Out Pediatric Cancer” initiative. He spends free time with his family on his ranch in Marshall.
Nicole Keith took the stage as the student commencement speaker. She is a communication major and theology minor from Pearland. Her speech, “A Generation of Possibility,” encouraged students to go forth and “achieve your dreams, but never forget what you learned at St. Thomas.” Keith participated in Campus Ministry, and has served as a Student Government Association senator, a Presidential Ambassador and Freshman Orientation vice-chair. She has worked at Guinan Residence Hall, and the offices of Student Activities and Academic Advising.
Honorary doctorates were given to David M. McClanahan, President and Chief Executive Officer of CenterPoint Energy, and Dr. Joseph McFadden, University of St. Thomas President Emeritus. McClanahan previously served as president and chief executive officer of Houston Lighting and Power and Reliant Energy Regulated Group.
He also served as Chairman of the UST Board of Directors from 1998-2002. McFadden served as President of the University from 1988 to 1997. Upon his retirement, he returned to the classroom at UST as a professor of American and Irish history. He is the Executive Director Emeritus of the International Council of Universities of St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Vincent J. Guinan Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Vincent D’Amico, class of 1952, for his continual volunteerism and tireless efforts to raise scholarship monies, recruit new students and promote the University to the community. A former teacher, he is a champion of education and educators. D’Amico’s first endowed scholarship, in honor of his mother, benefits students in the music program. His second scholarship was established in honor of his father and benefits communication majors. D’Amico’s third scholarship was established in honor of his hero Robert Frost to benefit education majors. He recently established his fourth endowed scholarship for UST’s School of Nursing, currently in development, in honor of his mother, who always wanted to be a nurse.
Read about a few other outstanding UST graduates:
New Features for Commencement 2010:
- A video of the UST Commencement Ceremony was streamed live on the UST Web site the during the ceremony beginning.
Watch the recorded video stream of UST's Graduation ceremony