Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson had a message of positivity and resolve for graduates at University of Wisconsin’s 2016 commencement ceremony Saturday.

At Camp Randall, around 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students listened to Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback and former Badger football quarterback, describe the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Despite a celebratory tone, Wilson’s words contained equal measures of optimism and pragmatism.

“If you’re earning a degree from UW … you definitely have something to offer the world … so go ahead and celebrate when life tells you yes,” Wilson said. “But the moments that really matter are the moments when life tells you no.”

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Drawing on anecdotes from his own life, Wilson charged graduates to heed three statements of advice when pursuing their future goals. Specifically, he said graduates should always keep perspective, stay prepared and know what one is capable of.

Highlighting the importance of staying prepared, Wilson talked about one instance while playing college baseball where he did not have the opportunity to play for several straight games. Still, Wilson said he always suited up and remained ready to play at a moment’s notice. In the last inning of a game, he got his chance and hit a game-winning home run.

Wilson described several of the outstanding graduates he met prior to his speech, including first-generation graduates and individuals with children. But Wilson’s speech also had moments of humor.

“We’ve got some fun places in Seattle, but no place like Wando’s,” Wilson said.

The jubilant tone of the ceremony contrasted with the cold weather and intermittent hail, but there were no interruptions.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank, in addition to her congratulatory remarks, spoke about the continued efforts within the campus community to address problems with racial climate.

Blank took pride in noting that UW graduates would receive diplomas from one of the top 25 universities in the U.S. She further congratulated the class of 2016 for helping UW be number one in the nation for the number of students who study abroad, and for of course for helping Vikings fan find his mystery girl.

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Wilson concluded his keynote speech, which leaned heavily on his own experiences, by returning the spotlight to the pool of recent grads.

“So on Wisconsin! I would say good luck, but I don’t believe in luck,” Wilson said. “Go make it happen, this is my story, now go make yours.”