Tomorrow, former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal will receive his doctorate in education from Barry University. As he states in a USA Today column (http://usat.ly/IvwhIQ) this is not an honorary degree, it is one in which he earned.
What was his motivation? O’Neal writes, “While I did this for two people – my mother and myself- it certainly would be nice if it could have a broader impact. Too many young kids- particularly black kids- are still dropping out of school way too early. This country will never compete globally when nearly one in four kids fails to complete high school on time.”
While many professional athletes have made headlines over the years for all of the wrong reasons, Shaq has raised the bar in a positive way. As he states, “If there is one thing I hope people take from this personal milestone, it’s that education matters your entire life. A degree, whether high school or doctoral, is not a finish line; it’s simply a mile-marker. My learning will continue. I want others to come along for the ride.”
Leadership by example is a powerful force and it is refreshing to see someone of Shaq’s stature back up his words with actions. Congratulations, Shaq!
© 2012 Doug Dickerson
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