AUBURN – Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson, Auburn University’s second Heisman Trophy winner and 1995 Auburn graduate, will deliver the commencement address to this year’s Auburn graduates at spring ceremonies May 9.
Auburn will award an estimated 2,823 degrees during two ceremonies in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Of those degrees, 2,164 are bachelor’s degrees, 357 are master’s degrees, 222 are professional degrees, five are specialist degrees and 75 are doctorates. A live video stream of the events will be available on the university’s Web site.
The 10 a.m. ceremony will include the colleges and schools of Engineering; Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; Liberal Arts; and Sciences and Mathematics. The 2 p.m. ceremony will be held for the colleges and schools of Agriculture; Architecture, Design and Construction; Business; Education; Human Sciences; and Nursing. Auburn’s professional schools, the School of Pharmacy and the College of Veterinary Medicine, will hold separate ceremonies for their graduates.
Jackson is the university’s second commencement speaker following a resolution passed by Auburn’s Student Government Association in fall 2007 as well as an initiative of Auburn University President Jay Gogue to bring nationally recognized and distinguished speakers to present the keynote address to Auburn graduates.
In 1985, Jackson received the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s most outstanding football player. As Auburn’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, Jackson is a two-time All-American and three-time All-SEC selection. He rushed for 4,303 yards and scored 45 touchdowns in his unprecedented Auburn career, and he is a three-time Auburn MVP. In addition to his domination on the football field, Jackson also had enough talent and energy to letter in both baseball and track at Auburn.
In 1986, both Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals and the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Jackson, and he chose the Royals since the Buccaneers didn’t want him to play baseball concurrently. He still loved football, however, so he joined the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders in 1987 with the understanding that he could continue playing baseball.
Not surprisingly, Jackson earned many accolades as a professional athlete, including being named MLB All-Star Game MVP in 1989 and NFL All-Pro Selection in 1990. A serious hip injury forced him to retire from professional football in 1990, but he signed with MLB’s Chicago White Sox and continued to play baseball until 1995. Jackson’s legendary athletic prowess led to a Nike marketing campaign featuring the well-known “Bo Knows” advertisements.
After his professional baseball retirement, Bo immediately returned to Auburn and earned his degree in family and child development from the College of Human Sciences in 1995. By doing this, he honored a promise he made to his mother before she died of cancer in 1992.
Jackson was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998. His business accomplishments include serving as president of his company, Bo Jackson Enterprises, Inc.; CEO of Bo Jackson Elite Sports; and director of Burr Ridge Bank and Trust in Chicago. In addition, he has devoted time to several charities, specifically those involving children.
Jackson resides in Chicago with his wife, Linda, who received her doctorate in psychology from Auburn in 1992. They have three children.
(Contributed by Karen Hunley.)