Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alex Smith to deliver commencement speech at University of Utah

By Dirk Facer, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Feb. 11 9:10 p.m. MST

 Elizabeth Barry, left, and Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs arrive at the 3rd annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for NFL/AP Images)

Elizabeth Barry, left, and Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs arrive at the 3rd annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for NFL/AP Images)

(Evan Agostini, Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah quarterback Alex Smith, who was the NFL’s top draft pick in 2005, has accepted an invitation from the University of Utah to deliver the general commencement address May 1.

The all-pro Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, who is a Utah graduate and generous philanthropist, was chosen to do so by school president David W. Pershing and the university’s Board of Trustees.

“Smith is not only a talented athlete and accomplished student,” Pershing said in making the announcement. “He is a standout example of class and persistence. It is no surprise that his teammates voted him the Ed Block Courage Award in 2011 as a model of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage. It is an honor to welcome Alex back to campus.”

Before pursuing a pro football career, Smith led the Utes to a 21-1 record as the starting quarterback. His win total included victories in the 2003 Liberty Bowl and 2005 Fiesta Bowl. It took him just two years to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics, graduating with a 3.74 GPA. He then started course work on a master’s degree.

According to a university press release, the Alex Smith Foundation and the Alex Smith Guardian Scholars Program were established in 2007 to assist foster teens in attending college — spending 91 percent of its funding on scholarships and grants.

The public is invited to hear Smith speak at the general commencement exercises on Thursday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Huntsman Center. The event is free.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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1. DRay
Roy, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

I'm a BYU fan, true blue. That said, I applaud Alex Jensen for his persistence and being a model of a man who is both book smart and life wise. Wisdom is becoming more and more a rare commodity in American Society. Go Cougars! Go KC Chiefs! Go U. Graduates, and build a better America without losing core, foundational, time-proven values!

2. GoRed
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

Alex Smith is a good example of everything that is right in professional sports. He's smart, hard-working, and has had to overcome a lot of adversity (i.e. 3 head coaches and 7 offensive coordinators in his 7 years at San Francisco) as well as his being "stabbed in the back" by Harbaugh last year after he got his concussion. Yet, he has gone on to the Chiefs and helped to lead them to an amazing turnaround from 2-14 in 2013 to 11-5 and a playoff berth in 2014.

Man, Ute Nation loves you, Alex! Keep making us proud.

3. There You Go Again
Saint George, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

Alex Jensen?

4. Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

@DRay

Your comment is certainly true for Alex Jensen (former Ute basketball player); however, it equally applies to Alex Smith which I am certain was your intention! Thanks to a Y fan's positive response.

5. Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 11, 2014

Welcome back Alex.

We have you to thank for getting us on the track to PAC 12 invitation with the first bcs win

You are a great player and even better person. You live right on and off the field. And the great thing about you is you don't even have to tell us that.

Go Alex!
Go utes!