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Class of 2019 gets a commencement speaker

ESPN’s Bob Ley will address this year’s senior class

Seton Hall announced last week that Bob Ley ’76, famed sports anchor and reporter for ESPN, will deliver the 162nd commencement address at this year’s graduation at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Photo via Tommy Gilligan

Ley was recently inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame and is the longest-tenured broadcaster at ESPN. Ley became an anchor of “SportsCenter” on the network’s third day of operation in 1979, and for the past 28 years, he has been the host of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” In addition to multiple Emmy Awards, the show has won a Peabody Award for its coverage of the concussion crisis in the NFL. Ley has also served on Seton Hall’s Board of Regents.

During his time at Seton Hall, Ley worked as a disc jockey, Sports Director and Program Director at WSOU, Seton Hall’s radio station and was inducted into WSOU’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

According to Ley, Seton Hall invited him to speak at graduation in early January, and he accepted the offer right away. He says he’s begun to think about what he will say, saying, “It’s never far from my brain; it’s a huge responsibility.”

Ley offered some advice to seniors approaching their graduation in May.

“Finish this last semester strong; there’s always great value in everything you experience, so enjoy the experience,” he said. “These four years have been a great opportunity to be challenged.”

Ley then said that the three things that are essential to success in the workplace are a positive attitude, working hard and a good presentation.

Megan O’Malley, a senior diplomacy and international relations and economics double major, said that she’s pleased with the choice of Bob Ley as the commencement speaker for her graduation.

“I really like how Seton Hall stayed loyal to their strong alumni network and brought in a very accomplished member of the Seton Hall community,” she said.

O’Malley said that she’s glad Seton Hall didn’t pick a “more famous” speaker.

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“At the end of the day, we are celebrating the Class of 2019, not hosting a speaker’s panel.”

Dr. Karen Boroff, interim provost of Seton Hall, said that the reason the school chose to invite Bob Ley to be this year’s commencement speaker is because he “is of Seton Hall cloth.”

“Mr. Ley represents the terrific story that is Seton Hall,” Boroff said. “He studied communications, excelled as a student in his discipline, was a risk-taker in his field, and forged on to create a sports niche, enjoyed by millions.”

Boroff also mentioned that Ley was at the forefront of ESPN when it began.

“He faced many unknowns at that time, so too do our graduates of today face unknowns about what are the next frontiers for any industry,” she said. “He can share with us what he faced, and how he decided to take the leap.”

Isabel Soisson can be reached at Find her on Twitter @IsabelSoisson.


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