Baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. will deliver the 2013 commencement address for the University of Maryland, administrators announced Tuesday.
The "Iron Man"—best known for playing a record 2,632 consecutive games with the Baltimore Orioles—will speak to nearly 7,000 graduates plus family and friends at the May 19 ceremony.
“I hope that my life experience allows me to impart some wisdom and give [graduates] a message that will serve them as they start their careers," Ripken said in a statement.
"While I never attended college, opting to pursue my baseball career after high school, I have great respect for higher education and the great value it brings to young people," he added.
Ripken, who was raised in Aberdeen, MD, played shortstop and third base for Orioles from 1981 to 2001. He is one of just eight MLB players to record at least 3,000 hits and 400 home runs in his career.
Ripken was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 in his first year of eligibility. Since leaving baseball, he has focused his efforts on Ripken Baseball, Inc. and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
“Throughout his career, Cal Ripken, Jr. has shown himself to be a natural educator, an extraordinary athlete, and a generous philanthropist who has exhibited dedication and heart in all that he has accomplished," UMD President Wallace Loh said in a statement. "His participation in our commencement ceremony will be an inspiration to our graduates and their families.”
Ripken was picked for the role by the university's Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, co-chaired by graduating seniors Stephanie Barcomb and Alysia Cutchis.