Denver QB Peyton Manning to speak at Valediction
Ashley Manning (Comm. 1997) creates University connection
During halftime of the Virginia football game against Ball State Saturday, the Fourth Year Trustees announced that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning would be the 2014 Valediction speaker. Manning’s wife, Ashley, graduated from the Commerce School in 1997.
Trustee Anne Tavetian, an Architecture student, said that the Trustees were adamant about choosing Manning for several reasons and were excited to share the news in a setting with as many University students present at one time.
“We picked Peyton Manning because he is very involved in philanthropy that gives money to cancer and he’s obviously a great athlete,” Tavetian said. “We think that he is a true Virginia gentleman.”
Fourth-year College student Tommy Devita said he was thrilled to hear that Manning would be speaking to the graduating class this year.
“Peyton Manning is a great athlete and a fantastic speaker,” Devita said. “He knows a lot about academics, athletics and achieving success in life, so I’m excited to hear what he has to say.”
The process of selecting a speaker for the Valediction ceremony is completely student-run, said Trustees Graduation Chair Sarah Salinas, a College student. The Trustees’ Graduation Committee begins to compile a list of possible speakers as early as a year before graduation, narrowing down the candidates until it reaches a decision.
“As a group, we try to find a speaker who will give a powerful message to the fourth-year class as they prepare to graduate, “ Salinas said. “We look for someone who we think will instill good advice and inspire the class before graduation as well as someone who can relate to U.Va. students.”
The Valediction ceremony takes place on the Saturday before Commencement. Trustees started the tradition of Valediction in 1980 with the intention of providing students an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and to give gifts to University.
The chosen speaker at last year’s ceremony was well-known author and comedian Stephen Colbert, whose wife graduated from the College in 1985.