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Bettis’ Advice to Duquesne Graduates: Learn, Earn, Return

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis provided a concise lesson to more than 1,360 graduating students at Duquesne University on Friday, May 2.

Bettis, who retired after a Steelers Super Bowl win in the 2005-2006 season and embarked on a career as a sportscaster, described three stages of life: learn, earn and return. He urged students to now earn their place in the world with what they have learned and to return their talents, services and time to their communities. He also told students to remember that returning is the most important and fulfilling part of one’s life.

“It’s important to learn,” Bettis said. “It’s important to earn. But it’s really important to give back.

Bettis’ speech received enthusiastic applause; some graduates waved Terrible Towels. Following his address, the University bestowed honorary degrees upon Cynthia Baldwin, former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice; Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Diocese; and J. Brett Harvey, president and chief executive officer of CONSOL Energy Inc.

After the ceremony at the A.J. Palumbo Center, which was led by President Charles J. Dougherty, graduates and their guests made their way to Academic Walk for pictures and an outdoor reception. On Saturday, May 3, each school held individual diploma ceremonies across campus at various times.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.