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Archie Griffin set to give graduation address

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Archie Griffin has been chosen to deliver the 2015 Spring Commencement keynote speech on May 10. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Archie Griffin has been chosen to deliver the 2015 Spring Commencement keynote speech on May 10. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Archie Griffin will return to his old stomping ground, Ohio Stadium, on May 10 as the Spring Commencement speaker.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be asked to do commencement, here at Ohio State University,” Griffin said. “To me, it’s a huge moment.”

Griffin, president and CEO of the OSU Alumni Association, is the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history, and was a three-time All American in 1973, 1974 and 1975.

OSU President Michael Drake asked Griffin to speak at commencement after being endorsed by the OSU Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee, according to a press release provided by Amy Murray, a university spokeswoman.

“I’m thrilled that Archie has agreed to be our commencement speaker,” Drake said in the press release. “Our graduates will get a chance to hear from the ultimate Buckeye and a man whose hard work, generous spirit and philosophy of ‘paying forward’ has brought so much credit to this university.”

Griffin will address more than 10,000 graduates and their families at the event, the release said.

Griffin said he was overwhelmed with the invitation, and that the moment brought him back to one he shared with OSU football coach Woody Hayes, when Hayes was asked to speak at the OSU spring commencement in 1986.

“I’ll never forget how emotional and excited coach Hayes was about being asked to do that,” he said. “It was something that meant a tremendous amount to him. He called me and he told me that, and he got a little emotional over the phone, and I’ll never forget that. And when I got that call, it hit me. It made me understand how and why he felt that way.”

Griffin said he hasn’t mapped out the details of his speech yet, but does hope the speech carries with it a sense of Hayes’ “pay it forward” philosophy, which Hayes included in his 1986 speech.

“That’s something that obviously stuck with me, and it’s something that I try to keep going,” he said. “I know it’s a big part of my family and what we do. And it’s because of coach Hayes consistently talking about that.”

Griffin said he also plans to share a couple stories from his time playing in the ‘Shoe.

“I just feel I’d be remiss not to because I hadn’t been in front of that many people on that football field since the time that I played there,” he said.

Griffin said his favorite off-field memory from his time at OSU was his own graduation.

“Graduation was the most exciting moment for me,” he said. “My purpose in coming here was to graduate. Football meant a lot to me, no question about it, but in reality, football was the vehicle I used to get the college education that I wanted. I’ll always be very appreciative of the game because for that.”

Griffin earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial relations in 1976.

Griffin said his youngest son, Adam, will be graduating this spring and will most likely attend commencement.

“That makes it kind of special for me to have that opportunity to speak,” he said. “I know he’ll say, ‘Oh my goodness, my dad’s up there speaking.’ He’ll probably be nervous for me.”

Griffin has spoken previously at commencements as a representative of the Alumni Association, but he said this experience will be different.

“Being the keynote, that’s a different story,” he said.

10 comments

  1. Great job, Ohio State. Wonderful choice for a spring commencement speaker!!

  2. Someone deserving of this honor. So glad it wasn’t someone no one knows or cares to hear from. Good job OSU.

  3. Archie a class act & loyal Buckeye for all these years! Much, much better choice than last year.

  4. Super happy about this choice. Just don’t turn it into an Alumni Association speech please! Fundraising should be set aside from Graduation.

  5. I like Archie, but this is a huge step down from past speakers. Archie already works here so this strikes me as a plan B choice when a larger speaker couldn’t be landed.

    As a graduating senior, I hope the Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee tries a little harder for the years to follow.

  6. Was Icky Woods unavailable?

  7. He already speaks at every graduation…Clearly a plan B choice. Nothing against Archie at all, but I thought the point of a keynote speaker was to hear from someone we’d otherwise never hear from. We are one of the biggest universities, we have the most living alumni, and we just won the first ever CFP Championship. I feel like someone would have come.

  8. Archie ???? What a disappontment. Nothing against him, he’s a good speaker as i’ve heard him speak at various business meetings/dinners etc… over the years. Additionally, so has my graduating son (heard him speak durinfg his 4 years at OSU). I think we have all had ample opportunity to hear from him. How about someone we haven’t heard from? The commencement of 10,000 students has it’s limitations in that it can be impersonal but one of its advantages is the ability to offer the graduates and their families the opportunity to hear a current, fresh, revelant speaker (even if you do not agree with their politics or ideas). It seems amazing to me that the highly successful alumni association could not have found among its members someone that we all haven’t heard from before.

  9. C’mon “Lantern,” no one bothered to ask if he’s being paid more on top of his existing salary to do this?

  10. Don’t get me wrong I love Archie, but he speaks all the time. I understand why many think this isn’t special.

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