Former University of Wisconsin quarterback and Super Bowl winning quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson was announced Wednesday as the 2016 spring commencement speaker.
Senior Class Secretary Bill Mulligan said the senior class officers wanted to select someone representative of what UW stands for, which they felt Wilson embodies.
Citing Wilson’s work in the community, Mulligan said his inspirational role extends beyond the football field.
“One of the things that we really feel strongly about as senior class officers is the Wisconsin Idea and that we should be striving to impact and improve our community and we think that Russell Wilson does a really good job with that,” Mulligan said.
Darrell Bevell, also a former Badger quarterback and Seahawks’ offensive coordinator, announced Wilson as the spring commencement speaker in a YouTube video.
“It’s an honor to be the 2016 Spring Commencement speaker,” Wilson said. “I’m looking forward to it. As always, on Wisconsin.”
Mulligan said UW does not pay commencement speakers to speak at graduation but do cover their flights and hotels.
Russell will succeed last year’s spring commencement speaker Katie Couric.
Katie Couric announced as spring commencement speakerSeeking a person that embodied notoriety, success and philanthropy, the University of Wisconsin’s senior class officers chose Katie Couric as Read…
Many UW students tweeted their reactions to the news. Some were thrilled:
— Austin Schneider (@A_Schneids) February 4, 2016
Russell Wilson is the mf commencement speaker this year o m g
— tay (@tayfendos) February 3, 2016
— Sarah Dicker (@sarah_dicker) February 3, 2016
Others not so much:
Of course UW would get Russell Wilson, walking cliché, for their commencement speaker. 😑 #notafan
— Jenny Scherer (@jenny_scherer22) February 4, 2016
Russell Wilson is the 2016 commencement speaker. I could not be happier I graduated last semester.
— Steve Fels (@stevenfels) February 4, 2016
Russell Wilson is the commencement speaker. Fuck everything.
— Nay-Jrueeeeee (@moderndaybc) February 3, 2016
Mulligan said he thinks Wilson will remind graduating seniors of some of their best times at UW.
“I think everybody can relate to the experience in Camp Randall and…to have him come back one more time as graduating [seniors] I think will be really inspirational for us.”
Commencement will take place May 14 at Camp Randall.