Congratulations, graduates!

December 18, 2010

It should be no surprise that one of the world’s most celebrated and recognizable play-by-play announcers would remember his first day at Bradley University as a series of numbers and vivid photographic memories. Wyckoff Hall 217 was his dorm room. WIRL was his first employer. And 43 years after stepping foot on the Hilltop, Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Charley Steiner hasn’t missed a play on his rise to the top.

Since graduating from Bradley in 1971, the eminent sports broadcaster has shared his unique brand of commentary and play-by-play announcing with millions around the world. On Saturday, at the first commencement ceremony held in the new Renaissance Coliseum, Steiner shared a more personal story with a more intimate audience.


Undergraduate Commencement

Undergraduate Commencement

Video: Graduate Commencement

Photos: Graduate Commencement

The Bradley Hall of Famer and Centurion delivered the keynote address after receiving an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Even with a 14-year career at ESPN and four Emmy awards, Steiner told the graduates, “I’m just like you.”

Admitting he was no overnight success story, Steiner credits his achievements to an unlikely mix of mantras borrowed from big time sports figures, a playwright, and his parents. What his influencers all had in common, and indeed what they instilled in Steiner, was an appreciation for honest, hard work.

“I wasn’t afraid to dig in and get my nails dirty,” said Steiner. “When I came to Bradley, I was just an average kid with average dreams, but I knew what I wanted to do. Whatever it is you love and want to do, you just have to go out and do it.”

Bradley President Joanne Glasser shared similar sentiments with the Class of 2010, noting the soft economy and tough job market. In keeping with the mission of Bradley’s founder, Lydia Moss Bradley, Glasser encouraged graduates to apply their education to a useful and helpful career. 

“Graduates, don’t wait for someone else,” advised Glasser. "Take the bounty of your Bradley education and do something positive for someone else. Go out and do great things.”

Though directed at Bradley’s new graduates, Glasser’s words describe perfectly the path of William J. Benman ’74, who delivered the keynote address at the Graduate Commencement ceremony held earlier in the week.

An intellectual property lawyer whose clients include Hewlett Packard, IBM, and XM Satellite Radio, Benman also devotes incredible energy and resources to philanthropy.  He, too, encouraged graduates to work not only toward personal success, but also in service to their communities.

“People all over the world need your help. They need the achievement that you bring to this planet,” said Benman. “You’ll be surprised by what you’re capable of when you take away your sense of limitation.”