Russell Wilson boasts many impressive labels – NFL superstar, Super Bowl champion, and nine-time Pro Bowler – but it seems one tag, in particular, takes precedence.
While delivering a commencement speech for the 2022 graduating class at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on Sunday, the Broncos quarterback jokingly thanked school officials for not introducing him as “Ciara’s husband.”
“Thank you very much for that introduction,” Wilson said. “Usually I just get introduced as ‘Ciara’s husband,’ so that was cool. And let me start by answering the question that is on so many of your minds: Yes, she’s here, too.”
Following this playful remark, the cameraman filming Wilson promptly turned to Ciara, whose wide smile was clearly visible as she sat alongside the recent grads and their families.
Wilson’s speech took a more sentimental tone shortly after his opening one-liner, as the 33-year-old quarterback discussed his family ties to Dartmouth. Wilson’s late father, as well as three of his uncles, attended the prestigious Ivy League school.
“Standing here at my father’s alma mater, looking out over this place that helped him become the man he was, it’s impossible not to think about his legacy,” Wilson said. “And living with legacy is what I want to talk to you about today.
“Now, legacy might seem like a strange topic for a commencement speech because, I mean, this is your beginning. You’re just starting out. But, graduates, if there’s one thing I hope to accomplish today, it’s to challenge you not to wait to think about your legacy and what that will be. Because legacy isn’t just something you leave behind. It’s something you build, something you add to every day. My dad, he didn’t get as many days as he deserved. I miss him so much. But because he lived with legacy, he’s never really gone. I hear his voice all the time.”
Wilson drove the concept of legacy home in the latter part of his speech, imploring the crowd of recent grads to make a difference once they leave college.
“No matter what you do after you leave this campus,” Wilson said, “your life, your legacy, will be defined not by the accomplishments you list on your resumé or the goals you achieve, but by the impact you have.”
The Broncos quarterback was additionally awarded an honorary degree from Dartmouth president Philip J. Hanlon, recognizing his significant accomplishments both on and off the field.