Commencement 2008: Alan Page Is Speaker

Class chooses athlete-turned-judge and humanitarian.

The class of 2008 chose Alan Page, Minnesota’s first African American Supreme Court Justice, as its Commencement speaker. A former member of the 1970s Minnesota Vikings team, Page was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was the first defensive player in NFL history to be awarded the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

But, says Page, “If I could choose a way to be remembered, it wouldn’t be my association with football. Football is the past -- a good past, but I’d want to be remembered with children -- my children and other children.”

That’s likely to be the way he is remembered, as well: Page is known for his advocacy of equal education for underprivileged and minority children. He established the Page Education Foundation to help motivate young students of color to pursue higher education. The foundation promotes mentoring programs and has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships to 2,600 students.