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‘Baseball, Philosophy, and Life’

Chicago Cubs’ executive chairman and co-owner Tom Ricketts delivers Commencement Address to Class of 2017

Bright sun, balmy breezes, and temperatures topping 70 degrees. What a beautiful day for a ballgame—or a graduation ceremony. For the nearly 3,400 people packing the open-air pavilion at Ravinia Festival Park on the morning of Saturday, May 13, the worlds of Lake Forest College and baseball collided as Tom Ricketts, the co-owner of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, gave the College’s 139th Commencement address.

Stepping up to the podium to a huge round of applause, Ricketts revealed the Forester football jersey he wore under his robe and delivered his talk, “Baseball, Philosophy, and Life.” Calling himself “one of a few lucky people on the planet who really got to accomplish a goal and live a dream,” Ricketts told the graduates that “being on a quest is truly incredible, and particularly if you are on that quest with people you respect and admire.”

The Cubs chairman wrapped up his heartfelt and at-times humorous address by rattling off 108 pieces of advice, one for every year of the Cubs’ historic World Series drought. “Find meaning, find Nemo, find a job. Your dad told me to put that last one on here,” Ricketts said. “Give back, give hope and always give 110 percent even though you know that is mathematically impossible.” Ricketts told the graduates to cultivate personal ties. “Without good friends and close family to share your successes with, your accomplishments will have no meaning,” he said.

While the first half of a career is usually defined by professional accomplishments, the second half is often defined by relationships, he continued. “Success, then, depends on how well you worked with others and made people want to work with you,” he said. “No one accomplishes a great task on their own.”

Immediately following Ricketts talk, President Schutt bestowed on the Cubs chairman an honorary doctorate of letters from the College.